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Ed Sheeran album artist shares ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ artwork highlighting climate emergency

Writer and artist Scarlett Curtis’s powerful new illustration highlights the key issues that must be tackled at the Cop28 summit.

The annual United Nations climate conference began in Dubai on Thursday (30 November), bringing together representatives of 197 countries to discuss the worsening environmental crisis.

King Charles delivered the keynote speech on the second day of the summit and warned that the world was “dreadfully far off track” in delivering a sustainable future for the climate.

Curtis, whose father is the filmmaker Richard Curtis, created the compelling visual guide of what must happen for this summit to be successful.

“There is a real sense of decisions must be taken around Cop and not just a round of cocktail conventions,” Curtis told The Independent on Friday (1 December). “Action is needed. This was my visual way of saying that.”

Good Cop vs Bad Cop by Scarlett Curtis (Scarlett Curtis)
Good Cop vs Bad Cop by Scarlett Curtis (Scarlett Curtis)

Titled “Good Cop vs Bad Cop”, the image is divided in half. Illustrations on the “Good Cop” side include a rhino, representing the repopulation of threatened species; a tabletop globe highlighting the global south; a crown for courageous leadership and a CO2 emissions meter, showing the need for a commitment to Net Zero – getting greenhouse emissions as low as possible by 2050.

The “Bad Cop” side features a sundae, subtitled “fudging the numbers”; a monkey covering its ears (“not listening”); a washing machine for “wishy-washy non-commitments” and a medical plaster representing “temporary solutions”.

Curtis, who also designed Ed Sheeran’s most recent album cover, also added that her desire to create this piece was her wanting to engage with simple terms “rather than exclusive, gatekeeper-y language and 20-page PDFs.

“This is an urgent time to make change,” she continued. “We need promises and action. Cop has all the powerful people together and need to make use of that. No hot air. Decisions.”

Scarlett Curtis (Shutterstock)
Scarlett Curtis (Shutterstock)

One of Curtis’s most recent artworks includes the album cover of Ed Sheeran’s recently released album Autumn Variations.

King Charles gave an address on Friday, stating that the “hope of the world” rests on climate talks taking place in the coming two weeks.

Addressing an auditorium packed with around 1,000 heads of state and senior dignitaries, the King warned that the world was “dreadfully far off track” in delivering a sustainable future for the climate.

Referring to news that the northern hemisphere was the warmest it has ever been this year, the King said: “We are carrying out a vast, frightening experiment of changing every ecological condition, all at once, at a pace that far outstrips nature’s ability to cope. As we work towards a zero-carbon future, we must work equally towards being nature-positive.

“With what we are witnessing, our choice now is a starker, and darker one: how dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?”