In COP26, Leaders Must Step Up to Fight Climate Change

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By Jessica Klees, Communications Intern
Every year since 1995, delegations from many countries gather for the Conference of the Parties (COP). And now as world leaders from more than one hundred countries convene in Glasgow for COP26, it is more important than ever that nations work to heal our planet and combat climate change. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “History will judge us on what we achieve over the next two weeks. We cannot let future generations down.” The eyes of the world turn to this group of people as we pray that they won’t abandon us, and our future.
The leaders who attended the G-20 summit over the weekend were accused by activists of not taking enough action. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said he left the summit “with my hopes unfulfilled.” He also believes it will be “very difficult” to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. 
The nations of the world have a great deal to do if they want to combat the climate crisis. According to CNBC, “To have any chance of capping global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the aspirational goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world needs to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions in the next 8 years and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.” The UN has also found that out of the 191 countries taking part in the Paris Agreement, only 113 have improved their pledges for carbon reduction.
During the course of the conference, India pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070. 100 countries each signed a pledge to end deforestation by 2030 and a pledge to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. However, environmentalists were concerned that China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, did not introduce any new climate targets during the conference. In fact, Chinese President Xi Xinping did not attend the conference, and instead sent a written message to delegates.
Our future rests on the actions of these leaders, but there is still hope. Boris Johnson says he feels “cautiously optimistic” about the work being done at the conference, but there is still a “very long way to go.” He said, “The clock on the doomsday device is still ticking but we have a bomb disposal team on site – they are starting to cut wires.”
Photo credit: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images

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