The Failure of COP26
Once again, this time the 26th, the Conference of Parties has failed – the conference of the nation-states of the world to deal with the climate crisis.
As described by Greta Thunberg, it was a “greenwashing event” of “blah, blah, blah”: “The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves, and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue the exploitation of nature and people and the destruction of presents and future living conditions to take place.”
As described by Amnesty International, “Leaders have catastrophically betrayed humanity at large by failing to protect people most affected by the climate crisis and instead caving into the interests of fossil fuel and other powerful corporations.”
The crisis has intensified, but little else has changed since the previous conferences such as those described in CPNN bulletins in 2012 and again in 2015 and summarized here.. After those conferences, CPNN remarked that while the nation-states could not deal with the crisis, the organizations of cities were taking effective action, and young people around the world were mobilizing into a global youth movement.
Again this year, the organizations of cities are showing the way.
Global city partners C40, ICLEI, the Global Covenant of Mayors, CDP, UCLG, WRI and WWF, are working together to recruit cities to the Race to Zero. The 1049 cities and local governments signing onto the Race to Zero represent 722 million people and will pursue ambitious climate action in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5℃ – the global standard for climate action. The mayors’ presence at COP26 is the culmination of years of visionary climate leadership from local leaders who have leveraged their influence to bolster global climate ambition. They have promoted their vision for a Global Green New Deal, which aims to place inclusive climate action at the centre of all urban decision-making to create healthy, accessible, liveable, and sustainable cities for all.
And again this year, it is the young people like Greta Thunburg who are seizing the initiative.
At Glasgow there were an estimated 250,000 demonstrators, led by young people and their organizations like Fridays for the Future which was started by Greta Thunberg.. Other demonstrations, largely led by youth, took place in Brussels, Melbourne, Palu (Indonesia), Paris, Berlin, Seoul, Manila, New York, Dharmsala (India), Wellington (New Zealand), Fiji, Istanbul, and Victoria (Canada), just to mention those for which we published photos.
The peace movement recognizes that the struggle for climate justice is an essential part of the struggle for a culture of peace. An example is our report from Mouvement de la Paix in France.
Religious organizations are also mobilizing. Many Catholics joined the demonstrations in Glasgow, inspired by the 2015 encyclical letter of Pope Francis entitled “LAUDATO SI’ drawn from the words of Saint Francis of Assisi. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us.”
A global movement is forming and it is led by youth. Quoting from the website of Fridays for the Future, “Along with other groups across the world, Fridays for Future is part of a hopeful new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis. . . The goal of the movement is to put moral pressure on policymakers, to make them listen to the scientists, and then to take forceful action to limit global warming. Our movement is independent of commercial interests and political parties and knows no borders. We strike because we care for our planet and for each other. We have hope that humanity can change, avert the worst climate disasters and build a better future. Every day there are more of us and together we are strong. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed. No one is too small to make a difference.”
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