News CoP (Out)27, in the Winter of 2022 –  A Policy Journey Going Green 2030  PART II  3rd Degree Burns  


CoP (Out)27, in the Winter of 2022 –  A Policy Journey Going Green 2030  PART II   3rd Degree Burns  

This is the 2nd in a series of 3 articles by Gordon Sillence ICT Director Tourism 2030 for CoP 27 5th -18th November 2022

In the previous article I attempted to highlight tourism as a vector for overall sustainable development in the CoP 27 deliberations. Here I’m looking to give tourism stakeholders a chance to see how the overall global governance system needs to change for tourism sector to flourish, and what part we can play in meeting the challenge of climate change by making our own sector’s sustainable development implementation a reality. But moving from rhetoric to results is still currently the path less travelled in all sectors, and if we don’t watch out our greedy leaders are set to lead us over the edge, beyond 1.5 degrees, and human society and our biosphere’s future changes forever 


  The CoP(Out) on Youtube – it made so many meetings of professional discussion accessible to all, but the viewer figures were indicative of our age … next year’ sCoP should build this for better civil society engagement, then we wouldn’t have to fly halfway round the world …

 So what can we take away from more than a week of usually well-meaning but weak  UN Speak?  By virtue of the whole CoP being streamed live on YouTube which is itself a landmark in accessibility to governance processes, I attended as many online sessions as I could - including the travel and tourism sector contributions - and the message is now very clear. This is being seen as the +3 degrees CoP, and we are being prepared for adaptation, not mitigation, abandoning the 1.5 goal that is now seen as unreachable with current economic activity projections.’

 An Historic Day during CoP 27

Some days are more historic than others. Passing into the second week of the turgid bureaucratic proceedings of the 27th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, we again briefly shine a much-needed multi-stakeholder spotlight on the priority of internationally discussing how to avoid the devastating effects of extreme weather becoming the norm.  

 From 2 billion to 8 billion in  a hundred years … we better have a good global plan to keep us all happy …

 On the day the human population reached 8 billion people, we humans are conducting our 27th global meeting on the weather, in the midst of multiple conversations on multiple crises of poverty, inequality, tyranny, violence and war.  Three decades have tumultuously passed since the climate convention was birthed in the prescient Agenda 21 shaped by the UN and Civil Society in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to counter the plethora of problems seen as the challenges of global change.  In the 21st century

UN President Antonio Guterres presiding over multiple crises with no real power to improve national collaboration

 More Green-washing, more Time-washing…

27 years where the talk has been Babylonian and the action pure business as usual… The time-washing and green-washing by global institutions, politicians and corporations have now taken their toll on critical eco-systems and human populations, and the open criticism of national governments and international governance for their two-faced rhetoric  has not just been left for the youth of today to shout out on street corners - even the research team who produced this years’ IPCC report has publicly decried the lack of action by governments during the dawn of this millennium.

Still, on the streets Greta Thunberg seems to be on message, with her timely Emergency on Planet Earth book published to cement her urgent calls for real change. Meanwhile the Code Red announced by the UN mirrors the urgency yet still lacks the authority. So you would think that the Major Group youth could be empowered to transform their societies in a functional UN that was uncoupled from its Bretton Woods roots and brought into the modern world as the global body that offers us the opportunity of global good governance.


Audiences at the CoPOut being kept in the dark and muzzled for silence to endure the greenspeak

 The Need for Global Good Governance

The UN is holding the scorecard, but the nation states, their financial institutions and multi-national corporations have the energy and transport cards in their hands and the decks stacked in their favour – the oil and gas industry and global tanker and lorry cargo infrastructure is not going anywhere soon, but is in fact Belton Road bigger and backed up by nation state military policing, hi tech surveillance and all pervasive communications, making it even easier to fragment ecosystems, frack up the landscape all over the planet, and martyr those who have died in their fights for climate justice.

 To bring government and business in line with sustainability, major reforms and refinancing of the UN and its relation to member nation states should be high on the CoP agenda, but its not really. If good governance is to be seen as the key antidote to poor implementation then linking government to civil society and the needs of people is the necessary institutional transformation to make to resolve multiple crises.

The 3 Degree CoP – a Burning Future Issue

So what can we take away from more than a week of usually well-meaning but weak  UN Speak?  By virtue of the whole CoP being streamed live on YouTube, I attended as many online sessions as I could - including the travel and tourism sector contributions - and the message is now very clear. This is being seen as the +3 degrees CoP, and we are being prepared for adaptation, not mitigation, abandoning the 1.5 goal that is now seen as unreachable with current economic activity projections.  Ignorance and greed have brought us here - all current and future generations will now pay for this nationalistic military-industrial mess the elites have brought upon us.

 Systemic Disorder – Multiple Failure

Realism is a compass for action, and now we have seen how the post-Covid green recovery has been constructed, business as usual will clearly be the norm and  is just as clearly a function of the short-sighted, opportunistic and individualistic thinking and value systems of the  international capitalist order. But like all large-scale systems, the new world order is in disorder, and the collapse of finance capitalism in the background of CoP 27 is the elephant in the room, droned out by multimedia news speak now focused on the Ukraine war, taking our eyes of the ball of the 1%  war financiers and families lending fortunes to governments at eye-watering interest rates we taxpayers pick up the double bill for.

The CoPs do produce a wealth of positive stakeholder contributions that show we have the practical solutions but not the political will.

 With an alternative green and inclusive 2030 social vision in the making in the face of 2050 near future catastrophe, in the midst of an structural economic reformation with wholesale loss of jobs, collapse of smaller businesses, lack of economic prospects and finally loss of hope, at a point of an inflationary cost of living crisis, who can pay attention to ensuring life is carbon neutral? That’s way too existential for 8 billion people. So a hot, flat and crowded future looms inevitably as we look away distractedly and drive the family car down a crowded highway, or take the latest cheap flight hotel deal in a last chance sea-side doomed destination …

 The Cost of Greenwash and Inaction and Benefits for the Few

Where, if we can afford to get to such a Mediterranean or tropical paradise, we can for instance ask the Bahamas minister of tourism, who reported to CoP that now 50%  of debt servicing is because of hurricane damage to the islands.  The upheaval of coastal lands across the globe, where 80% of tourism is conducted, will not only impact the territories where sea level, aridification and extreme weather and the knock on effects of migration, resource conflict and barbarism arise, but also impact the overall international tourism order, where entitlement to travel our one planet should be the right of all 8 billion of us … not just the privileged travelling billion whose access to the money economy ensures  3 – 7 star mobility for the westernised (Americanised) urban masses.


Summing it up – here are our fearless leaders fighting for the planet or over the planet? - representatives of the multinational corporate and financial planetary owners – no changes to the status quo please on their watch ...

NB there are 4 women in this picture

And within that billion, the 1% themselves, running up a luxury travel carbon footprint that makes all the difference to SDG targets, but is still off limits to the greening of the sector, where the joined up governance  of socio-economic and environmental concerns is politically and bureaucratically kept purely theoretical and there isn’t even a decent set of management and measurement tools to monitor the process of tourism sector projected emissions rise by 25% by 2030 according to the UN-WTO – unless we do something of course.  Future CoPs will have to address root inequality and climate catastrophe as a whole very soon ..


Getting down to business as usual in the tourism sector – the Glasgow Declaration one year on

 Tourism Stakeholders moving forward from Glasgow

This CoP 27 did address the role of tourism stakeholders by revisiting the CoP 26 Glasgow Declaration, which started a year ago with about 170 signatories and has now reached 700.  Examples of various stakeholder actions largely recount some project experiences or renewed policy and research initiatives, but – as with the overall CoP sector performance plans – such stories at best indicate isolated well-meaning actions in a sea of mean common problems whose real solutions are complex and systemic, not coincidental and simplistic.

 The Vision of Tourism SCP Supply Chains as the key to Overall Sustainable Development

If the tourism sector is to be seen as the vector that can create the  local-regional- national- international sustainable supply chains of the global economy for the movement of people as travellers for both business and leisure, and if that system is made inclusive and affordable to the 8 billion for free global circulation and all the trade and exchange that creates, then tourism stakeholders - through a clear vision and  fair value system and smart collaborative networking  - can create a global to local sustainable consumption and production platform of interest to all who would be part of such interconnected yet regionally resilient development and trade processes.

 The UNWTO has recognised the need and opportunity to grow such a network of businesses and destinations who can be part of a greener global business web, and the EU are hailing the clustering of regional sectoral activity to improve SME and territorial resilience to chart a course through this fast-moving epoch of Global Change. The Covid horror show revealed the inherent weakness of an international travel and transport economy. Yet we are back to business as usual – the Ukraine War as a point in case -, counting the greenbacks instead of greening our backyards, dollar conscious in an age when its water that precious.

The need for tourism stakeholders to support initiatives such as the Glasgow Declaration arises not just because the travel and tourism sector is a considerable contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and needs to reduce its impacts on both climate and biodiversity, but more importantly because the sector has the ability to create a cross sector matrix of green product and services suppliers that would form a socio-economic, environmental and cultural in regions where travel and tourism works. Reducing the negative and creating positive changes makes the greening of tourism sector supply chains a no brainer when it comes to recovery and resilience thinking, planning, investment and implementation and then monitoring.


Seeking to measure carbon reduction implementation in the tourism sector – a small-scale demonstration of what needs to be upscaled immediately.

 Such a cycle has been applied to the European Tourism Going Green 2030 project support for SMEs and destinations who wish to develop sustainable tourism supply chains. Ecotrans and Mirabilia, two signatories to the Declaration, are part of the project and have joined forces to set up a small demonstration project monitoring carbon emissions from tourism stakeholders to test current tools and establish a long term system that enables multi-stakeholder approaches to emissions reduction.


In the greening of tourism to support adaptation and mitigation (don’t give up on 1.5 just yet!)  access to finance for sustainability certification is the key to making sustainable and responsible tourism goods and services visible and transparent enough for trusted trading on both a b2 b and b2c basis. 3rd Party certification is necessary to cut through the green washing, and the Tourism 2030 has the world’s largest listing of 3rd party sustainably certified tourism businesses. A going green self-assessment and then sustainability certification support service has been added to the portal to enable either SMEs or destinations to join the market place and put themselves into local to global sustainable tourism market chains.

 Finally, if such thinking is applied to those precious and priceless protected area landscapes and habitats that house the fragile remains of our invaluable planetary biodiversity, then we can meet both the climate stabilization and biodiversity conservation targets (SDGs 13,14 and 15) together and where it counts most i.e. in the most vulnerable eco-systems which are usually under most human development pressure. If we put the resources and people in to get tourism right in these places – and every country has them and should prioritize their protection – then we would quickly build a local to global network of supply chains interlinked by the value system of sustainability and trading on this (externally verified!) trust in order that responsible consumers and responsible producers understand what is sustainable and make their economic choices accordingly, to the benefit of both supplier and consumer.


For further information on the  ETGG 2030 Going Green Project please see

For information on the Mirabilia Ecotrans Demonstration project on Carbon Emissions Measurements please see

A Global Sustainability Clustering Meeting is being held on Wednesday November 30th should you wish to become involved – please contact or see

The previous article in this  series can be found at (see



Gordon Sillence is ICT Director of the Tourism 2030 Portal managed by the Ecotrans European Network for Sustainable Tourism Development.  Please contact




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Target group(s) Businesses , NGOs, Partnerships, Networks , Governments & Administrations
Topics Climate Change - Energy and Resource Efficiency , Good Governance & CSR , Value Chain Management & Fair Trade