During the first two weeks of November, world leaders from around the globe are coming together for the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. This conference is a crucial climate summit for the United Nations.
This summit aims for world leaders to set targets to reduce the onset of climate change. The most imperative goal is to reduce fossil fuel emissions drastically. This year, scientists worldwide say that nations must make immediate changes if they want to avoid the most dangerous of climate change impacts.
Leaders like President of the United States Joe Biden and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson spoke and made promises to change the industries in their countries and reduce emissions. Other countries like India and Japan made similar promises. Many of them also spoke with disappointment about two of the world’s biggest industrial countries, Russia and China, refusing to join the summit.
How justified are they to fault those nations, though? Are they any better with all of their speeches and promises?
If anything, the world leaders at the COP26 are worse. They are spending two weeks making promises back and forth to each other. They are putting on a big show of peaceful global cooperation and care about the environment.
Until actual actions are taken and accurate results are seen, this is just one big public relations event to satisfy constituents and ensure smooth political control. The famous climate activist Greta Thunberg best when she addressed the Fridays for Future rally in Glasgow.
Thunberg said, “The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains, the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action.”
Furthermore, she is right. COP26 comes six years after the signing of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was a set of accords that required all signing countries to set emission-reduction pledges founded in 2015. The Paris Agreement gave a goal for governments to prevent the global average temperature from rising above two degrees Celcius. Despite these promises, earth-warming emissions have continued to rise over the past six years quickly.
Not only are the promises these countries are making not ambitious enough to impact climate change truly, but they are also empty promises. These world leaders have proven that they are not capable of keeping their promises, and they have allowed the fossil fuel industry to have too much power, and because of that, the world’s citizens continue to suffer.