As national delegates return home from COP26 in Glasgow, there is small positive movement to report, but huge needs for improvement in the climate justice report card. World leaders need massive relentless pressure from their home bases to follow through on what has been promised, and to return next year with the goal of actually taking actions needed to both hold global warming to 1.5°C.
The world is still on track for a frightening 2.4°C temperature rise if all promises are kept.
As Mikaela Loach, a young Black British woman activist responsible for the title of this article declared: “We cannot sit and wait for governments to make the right decisions. WE all must be part of movements. We have to act to end the fossil fuel era”.
The delegates also punted on broken promises for monies to frontline communities hardest hit by climate chaos, pushing discussion of the specifics to COP27 in Egypt. In addition to still not coming through on past promises of climate finance for the Global South, the US and the EU blocked establishing a fund for compensation payments for loss and damage from accelerating climate chaos.
China and India weakened the agreement by blocking language for phasing out coal and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies while saying nothing about reducing oil and gas production.
Some positive developments:
- Nations with 85% of the world’s forests signed on to a new commitment to end and reverse deforestation by 2030
- 100+ countries, including the US, struck a deal to slash global methane emissions by 30% by 2030
- 21 countries, including the United States and Canada, have promised to end public financing of fossil fuel projects
- Developed countries committed $8.5 billion to help move South Africa off coal
- Financial institutions with $130 trillion in assets announced their commitment to net zero emission targets in their investments by 2050.
The biggest single delegation inside COP26 were the 500+ fossil fuel lobbyists. They offered misleading greenwashing displays and held “educationals” on unproven and environmentally damaging technological “solutions” that often postpone the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
The history of UN climate negotiations provide a clear lesson: without a huge global movement to hold leaders, corporations, and financial institutions accountable, little hope remains of getting where we need to go during this critical decade. That is why our local and national campaigns are so critical.
Right now, even the watered down Build Back Better bill is stalled. We must double down on efforts to build the mass movement needed for the BOLD changes that this crisis requires of us all.