Three Notable Absences at COP 22

By: Reed McCalib

The COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco has been blessed with incredible scientific and diplomatic talent from all over the world. Check out the previous post for three extraordinary examples.

Despite the presence of industry leaders and celebrity statesmen, there were several notable absences. Perhaps it was because this COP was smaller than past Conferences, or perhaps they were simply too busy. Regardless, here’s who didn’t show up this year:

Leonardo DiCaprio – The fangirl in all of us was disappointed by the absence of the (finally) Academy Award-winning actor. Considering Leo’s increasing commitment to raise awareness of global climate change, his failure to show was a bit of a shock to everyone here. This is especially true considering his climate change documentary, Before the Flood, was strategically released several weeks ago. What’s more, Mr. DiCaprio serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace for climate change. This Conference is his bread and butter. Where are you, Leo? Apparently he’s too busy hanging out at cafés in Scotland.

Al Gore – Mr. Gore has been a global force in the climate change conversation for a least a decade (An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006). He has attended past COPs and has been an active voice for urgency in the face of this issue. I was really looking forward to hearing him speak.

Barack Obama – Expecting Mr. Obama to show up to COP 22 may have been ambitious. He was a key figure at the signing of the Paris Agreement at COP 21 last year, but this year’s implementation-focused Conference is far less sexy in terms of its impact on global diplomacy and international law. That said, Mr. Obama has made climate change a fundamental issue in his second term. He has even indicated that his post-Presidential career will be dedicated to tackling climate change. Especially now, in light of the political climate back home, his presence at the Conference would have sent a powerful message to the world that the American people – at least a large chunk of them – are still dedicated to confronting this issue.

Hopefully one or three of these folks will consider a trip to Fiji next year.

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