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#COP26: ah well, what the hell?

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Is it just me, or is the world a scary place at the moment? For most of my life, the world has been harmonising, working together to create global trade and destroy barriers. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of China to world trade and the growth of the United Nations sustainability goals, all made me feel reassured and safe. There were few wars taking place, no world wars, and I could pretty much fly anywhere, anytime.

Then the pandemic hit, we moved into lockdown and our wings were clipped. That was bad, but it wasn’t so bad. We still had Netflix, The Crown and Squid Games. But then, as we come out of the pandemic, national interests seem to be rising and global harmony vapourising.

We saw this with COP26, and the way in which the agreement was so watered down that the Chair of the conference broke down.

I’m not surprised as Alok Sharma knew we had missed the goal. We had created a hogwash of an agreement that probably signs the death knell for future generations on planet Earth, as evidenced by Mark Carney's greenwashing statement of $130 trillion committed. It's not.

Blah, blah, blah.

Ah well, what the hell?

Meanwhile, I’m living in Poland, a country that just sent thousands of troops to the border with Belarus to stop the migrant movements into Europe. Russia then sent thousands of troops to Belarus to stop them. Thing is, neither country seems to recognise that these people are not migrants. They are humans. They are families with children, trying to escape purgatory in the countries they come from. Their children are dying, their life is miserable, they’ve used all of their savings in the promise that they would be safe. What have they got? They’re just pawns in a chess game of sabre-rattling between Russia and Europe.

Ah well, what the hell?

Meantime, you can look at the same issues of migrants from France to Britain. Talking of France and Britain, what’s going on there. Post-Brexit, the Brits are angered that France wants to continue fishing and France is angered that the British still exist. Rumours of Polexit, along with Czech Republic and Hungary, and dissatisfaction in France and even Germany over the state of the European Union means that many predict the European Union will fall apart.

Ah well, what the hell?

I look to Asia and see that China might invade Taiwan whilst North Korea still sends rockets over the Pacific Ocean. Australia says it will support America in resisting such action, if it happens, and there’s lots of possibilities. Having said that China internally is shaky. The Uyghurs, a Muslim community native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, are being persecuted whilst there are rumours that President Xi Jinping’s elevation to the same status as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping is creating huge anger within China.

Ah well, what the hell?

Then we have Black Lives Matter and all the stuff going on within America. Joe Biden is the least popular president ever, even worse than Trump based on the rapid decline in his approval ratings, and the internal divisions of America are laid bare. There is little unity. A North-Sound divide which you see in many countries (look at the UK), and the way in which law enforcement works or does not work, creates huge issues for Biden to deal with internally, let alone trying to maintain the claim that America is the superpower when, these days, it clearly is not.

Ah well, what the hell?

Then there are wars and human abuses around the rest of the world. The war in Yemen and the treatment of the country is a genocide on a massive scale imho, yet no one talks about it. There’s a war in Ethiopia that is tearing the country apart and yet no one talks about it. Thousands are killed in Mexico in a drug war that no one is talking about.

Ah well, what the hell?

I probably shouldn’t talk about it, as it’s not my place, but the fact that there is so much destruction and division around the world is clear today. It was not so clear a decade ago. Is the world uniting or falling apart? Can we truly be global in view and in vision, or do we have to be local? Can the world come together to tackle the big issues and deal with the changes we have to deal with, or will we always focus upon our next meal and our own riches?

Based upon the last fortnight of COP26, it looks like we will do the latter and screw the former.

Ah well, what the hell?

Source: Bloomberg

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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