Contributed by Joe Montero
Last Friday, climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived at the Cop 25 summit in Madrid (Spain) and joined a group of teenagers staging a sit in to demand that the politicians gathered there take up real action on the climate emergency – 26,000 people and 200 nations are taking part in the two weeks of talks.
She then took part in a massive street march, estimated to number half a million, and where people called for action now.
Greta warned that the voices of climate strikers are being heard. She said that politicians are still not acting anywhere near as strongly as they should, and hoped that this will be the time when there is a change.
“We are getting bigger and bigger, and our voices are being heard more and more, but of course that does not translate into political action,” she told a news conference.
Half a million march in Madrid
But the tone was unmistakable, implying that if the politicians do not move, the growing movement will keep on until it pushes through change.
“People are suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency today and we cannot wait any longer,” she said.
The Cop 25 summit is sponsored by the United Nations, and has the ability to have a major impact, if the will is there. It’s declared mission is to streamline the rules on global carbon markets and agreeing on how poor countries should be compensated for destruction largely caused by emissions from rich nations.
“The biggest problem in the current multilateral climate process is developed countries’ lack of political will in offering support (to the developing countries,” said Lu Xinming, deputy director of climate change in China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, and deputy of the Chi ese delegation to COP 25.
He added that developed countries should also hammer out a detailed road map and timetable.
Sufficient aid for developing countries is crucial if any global agreement is going to work. Developing countries lack the resources and, still have to ensure that their peoples have the basics for an acceptable standard of living, while they avoid serious economic damage.
Some powerful developed nations have that they do not need to lead and push for a greater burden to be taken by those least able to afford it, despite being the nations responsible for putting the pollutants in the atmosphere.
To help achieve a consensus in a divided world, the Paris agreement took on a carbon credit system This allowed developing countries to have more flexibility. It was supposed to coma along with significant aid to help the transition to be made sooner. Progress in this has been miserable.
This round of COP 25 is supposed to sort this out and being about a transformation from talk to action. Whether it will remains to be seen.
Even if there is some progress on this front, it does not not replace the onus on individual governments to to set more ambitious targets.
Chinese carbon emissions are already below the 2005 level and on course to reach 45 percent reduction be 2020, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Finland had already announced in April that it will put an end to coal one year ahead of its plan to reach this by 2029.
Some smaller nations are also moving.
UN leader warns of ‘point of no return’ and Sechelles takes its own action
Video from DW News
India has acted and reduced its own carbon emissions growth this year, due largely to the expansion sustainable energy generation alternatives. India’s target is to cut emissions by 35 percent below the 2005 level by 2030.
The biggest block is among western developed countries. The United States has pulled out of its commitment. Others, which have not openly renounced their commitments, are doing very little to reach them.
Critics insist that given the scale of the emergency and the short time available to turn the situation around, before an irreversible catastrophe hits, this is far from good enough.
There is far too much foot dragging. A big part of the problem is the dependency of politicians on the patronage of the fossil fuel industry, and the fact that shifting to a sustainable economy means a transformation of the carbon dependent and inherently undemocratic economy and political institutions.
Politicians run away from taking on these challenges and have only moved in a limited way because of public pressure. The growth of a grass roots movement and the unprecedented willingness of school children to become involved is a powerful force. But it is not enough yet.
The climate has already warmed by I degree and is causing unprecedented and harmful weather events, and rising sea levels are threatening the ongoing existence of island nations. The world is set to reach close to 2 degrees, and if drastic measures are not taken, it is going to get much hotter than this. It is what the science is telling us.
As the truth sinks in, citizens across the planet are insisting that enough be done to turn the situation around, while there is still time to do so.