Dave Jones’ critique of COP conferences and the whole COP process seems to me well justified. I take the slogan ‘system change not climate change’ seriously in that I do not believe that capitalism is going to prevent global heating or deal with its consequences effectively or justly. I also think the COP process is inextricably tied in to the system and it would be folly to believe that we could seriously influence it enough to make a real difference. In my view the prime focus of GEN and of all ecosocialists ought to be on building mass movements of people power on the streets, in workplaces, with the working class and oppressed peoples.
However, I don’t believe it follows from this that we should simply ignore COP 26 in Glasgow. If the Conference actually takes place (Covid permitting) it is likely that tens of thousands, maybe more, will gather on the streets of Glasgow. I think ecosocialists should be part of that mobilization, precisely with a view to influencing those activists, protestors, etc in an ecosocialist direction.
Equally I think it may be possible to use the event as a focus for action internationally by people who cannot possibly get to Glasgow. That is why GEN is trying to popularise the idea of a global strike in November 2021. See http://www.globalecosocialistnetwork.net/2020/07/13/towards-a-global-climate-strike/
In some ways the issue is similar to the old debate in the Marxist movement about whether to take part in capitalist elections and bourgeois parliaments. My view, based on theory and experience, is that such participation is essential and can be done without succumbing to illusions in parliamentarism, provided that it is combined with and, ultimately subordinate to, extra-parliamentary struggle. In a similar way I think we can make use, without illusions, of the occasion provided by COP 26.