Extinction Rebellion use music and performance to declare COP a “Titanic Failure”

With COP26 talks still not complete, Extinction Rebellion declared the conference a “Titanic Failure”, with a musical performance at Pacific Quay, two funerary ceremonies of grief, at the Glasgow Necropolis and the “gates of COP”, and infiltrating the Lord Mayor’s show in London.

Sinking Our Future

In Pacific Quay, across the River Clyde from the SEC where COP26 is being held, a string trio stood in a rubber dinghy labelled “Titanic” covered in fake oil and filled with water. Among other tunes, the band played ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’, the music performed by musicians on the decks of the RMS Titanic as they awaited their fate while the ship went down.

In front of the boat, chalk on the ground read “Titanic Failure”. Behind them, other activists held a banner saying “COP is Sinking Our Future”.

Violinist Dan Hodd said “COP has failed us – humanity’s future is sinking fast. What’s been agreed is pitiful in the face of the huge scale of the emergency we face. There’s been no commitment to update current pledges, which governments were already failing to meet, with more ambitious targets that are needed. This agreement also has a loophole written into the supposed promise to end investment in fossil fuels which drive climate breakdown. Without such measures enforced, any agreement is essentially just greenwash”.

Another musician Rosie Kenneally, 28, added “There are no lifeboats for our planet. Climate change is already sinking many countries underwater, and the COP26 agreement is failing to provide proper compensation to the poorer nations who have contributed least to climate change but who are already being worst affected. The time to act is now, and we all have a responsibility to hold our leaders to account”

Dr Clare Andrews, 41, a scientist holding the banner said “The hopes of all young people are being drowned by the governments of rich nations like ours. The science is clear that we need to keep within 1.5 degrees of global heating, but that’s been pushed even further out of reach now. Even the UK as COP26 host has refused a pact to end oil and gas; instead our government is steaming ahead with plans for a new oil field at Cambo near Shetland.

“Analysis this week by Climate Action Tracker shows this ineffectual agreement will lead to at least 2.4 degrees average global heating, bringing far worse droughts, fires and floods, and millions of people losing their homes, livelihoods and lives. None of us should stand back and let humanity’s hopes sink in silence”.

Ceremony of Grief

That afternoon, the Red Rebels led a funeral procession of 26 “failed COPs” past the “gates of COP” Blue Zone entry point on Finnieston street, followed by the Blue Rebels and a bagpiper. Covered head to toe in black veils “dead COPs” placed cut-out gravestones on the street and “died” in front of them, as the Red and Blue Rebels mourned.

This was a repeat performance of a funerary procession at Glasgow Necropolis earlier in the day. [1]

International Voices

This follows a day of action in Glasgow that saw a topless activist arrested for protesting at JP Morgan, a group spray-painting “Blood Money” on Barclays bank, two activists pouring red paint and fake blood over themselves at the entrance to the COP26 Blue Zone, and an activist arrested for attempting to “jump the fence” and enter the Blue Zone compound.

Winnie, 30, Extinction Rebellion representative from Brazil said: “The problem with COP26 is that the tone is exactly the same as the other 25. It is all about the optimistic promise of a better, and yet abstract, future. As if we still have time to think and plan and don’t yet have to act. Climate change effects were present in the lives of people of the Global South even before the COP1! And yet, they keep talking about this unrealistic future. And of course, they keep trying to solve the environmental problems with reformist ideas inside this capitalist and oppressive system. The only way to change is turning the system upside down. Revolution is the only solution, indeed.”

Ornella, 33, Extinction Rebellion representative from Argentina said: “COP26 was a waste of time and resources. They didn’t listen to the best science available: we should act NOW to reduce emissions and there aren’t real commitments towards a drastic decrease of emissions caused by fossil fuels.

“Those countries with more responsibility for historic emissions, and most of the wealth in the world, weren’t ambitious enough, considering the catastrophic emergency we face.

“For the Global South countries, some leaders are taking advantage of the minor historic responsibility to encourage other extractive activities and exchanging governmental debt for climate action.

“Consequently, the business-as-usual keeps going, with no real solutions for the people that are already suffering climate change consequences.”

John Jonathan Olwenyi, 28, Extinction Rebellion representative, and climate and environmental activist from Uganda, East Africa said: “The indigenous people who are most affected were not fully represented, there was inequality and imbalance at COP26 to me. I feel it was COP for the rich not the poor. It was yet another registered failure because the same promises that our leaders always make were repeated again.”


Extinction Rebellion disrupted the Lord Mayor’s show in the City of London today, and several other locations along the parade. Riding a float entered into the show under the company name of the London Physical Society, Extinction Rebellion declared that COP26 had failed, and demanded the City of London take responsibility for their part in the climate and nature emergency by ending all fossil fuel investments immediately.

The float, disguised as an organisation dedicated to promoting the use of sustainable building materials, revealed itself at Bank Junction, where it displayed a giant drowning head and two outstretched arms reaching towards a large globe atop a structure made from mycelium based building blocks. On the sides of the float hung large banners saying ‘COP HAS FAILED’ and ‘STOP FOSSIL FUEL FUNDING’. People dressed up with giant heads depicting Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson addressed the crowds and began smashing the globe, with others locking themselves together to block the road in front of the Lord Mayor’s stands. [2]


[1] Press Release: Extinction Rebellion to conduct ceremony of grief at COP26 https://mailchi.mp/ac6315e5d64f/press-release-extinction-rebellion-to-conduct-ceremony-of-grief-for-cop26

[2] COP HAS FAILED, TIME TO REBEL: Extinction Rebellion disrupts Lord Mayor’s Show to declare COP26 a failure https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2021/11/13/cop-has-failed-time-to-rebel-extinction-rebellion-disrupts-lord-mayors-show-to-declare-cop26-a-failure/