COP26: Rich countries stage a great escape from their climate responsibilities

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Friends of the Earth took part in the System change not climate change block on the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice in Glasgow (Photo Credit: Babawale Obayanju/Friends of the Earth Nigeria)

The UN climate negotiations COP26 agreement is set to be the ‘great Glasgow get-out clause’, Friends of the Earth said on the last day of scheduled talks.

Developed countries have shirked their responsibilities and put the world on track for a rise in emissions and devastation of countries and communities already hardest hit by climate change. The UK has delivered the most exclusionary COP so far. The fossil fuel lobby were welcomed on a red carpet, while many people from the frontlines of climate impacts were shut out by restrictive visas, soaring travel costs and vaccine apartheid.

Friends of the Earth gave reactions as the summit neared its end.

Speaking about the role of the European Union at the summit, Friends of the Earth Europe climate justice spokesperson Colin Roche, commented: “We are witnessing the ‘great Glasgow get-out’. The EU has shown where its loyalties lie, and that’s with big polluters. The EU came to Glasgow to push for carbon markets and other loopholes to avoid real emissions reductions. While eyes were on Glasgow the European Commission was at the same time putting forward fossil mega gas projects worth billions of Euros. The EU claims to be a bloc founded on solidarity but has failed in Glasgow to show true solidarity with developing nations and those worst impacted and most vulnerable.”

Giving the youth perspective, Mia Bradić from Young Friends of the Earth Europe commented: “As a young EU citizen I am incredibly disappointed with the fact that the EU is actively pushing for carbon markets. The present and the future of millions of young people around the world cannot be sacrificed for the profit of the richest in the Global North. Net zero by mid-century means nothing to people already experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis. Only through a justice-based approach can we truly tackle the climate emergency and ensure the wellbeing of people and the planet.”

Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate justice and energy co-coordinator for Friends of the Earth International, commented from Mozambique: “With so little global south representation, it is no surprise that wealthy countries are pushing through false solutions that will allow them to continue climate-trashing, business-as-usual. Rich countries are forcing an agreement full of escape hatches: carbon markets, nature-based solutions and ‘net zero by the middle of the century’ are all ways for them to get out of making the real emissions cuts we need to prevent climate catastrophe.”

As the climate summit drew to a close, Friends of the Earth and other civil society groups and climate justice movements from across the globe come together at an alternative ‘People’s Plenary’ to stand firm on the just and urgent outcome needed at COP26.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of campaigns, commented on the peoples’ movement outside the COP halls: “COP26 has failed to close the gap on 1.5°C, but outside in the streets we’ve seen the biggest climate justice demonstration in the UK ever. We’ve come together as a powerful and diverse movement that recognises the root cause of the climate crisis is an economic system which is also driving multiple other injustices we are struggling against – poverty, racism, sexisim, nature destruction to name but a few. Everywhere around the world people are rising up against this system that prioritises profit over people. We will not give up until we have created the better world we know is possible.”

Source: Friends of the Earth