DrillOrDrop has compiled reaction to the results of COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
“Blah, blah, blah”
Greta Thunberg said:
“Here’s a brief summary: blah, blah, blah.”
“Nations came together”
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, said countries had come together.
We asked nations to come together for our planet at @COP26, and they have answered that call. I want to thank the leaders, negotiators and campaigners who made this pact happen – and the people of Glasgow who welcomed them with open arms. 1/4— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 13, 2021
“Won’t prevent destruction”
Vanessa Nakate, activist from Uganda with Fridays for Future
“Even if leaders stuck to the promises they have made here in Glasgow, it would not prevent the destruction of communities like mine. Right now, at 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming, drought and flooding are killing people in Uganda.
Only immediate, drastic emissions cuts will give us hope of safety, and world leaders have failed to rise to the moment. But people are joining our movement. 100,000 people from all different backgrounds came to the streets in Glasgow during COP, and the pressure for change is building.”
“Move faster away from fossil fuels”
Former US vice-president, Al Gore, said:
“The Glasgow Climate Pact and the pledges made at COP 26 move the global community forward in our urgent work to address the climate crisis and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but we know this progress, while meaningful, is not enough. We must move faster to deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner and more equitable future for our planet.”
“Meek, weak and 1.5C is only just alive”
Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, said:
“It’s meek, it’s weak and the 1.5C goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending. And that matters.
“Glasgow was meant to deliver on firmly closing the gap to 1.5C and that didn’t happen, but in 2022 nations will now have to come back with stronger targets. The only reason we got what we did is because young people, Indigenous leaders, activists and countries on the climate frontline forced concessions that were grudgingly given.
“The line on phasing out unabated coal and fossil fuel subsidies is weak and compromised but its very existence is nevertheless a breakthrough, and the focus on a just transition is essential. The call for emissions reductions of 45% by the end of this decade is in line with what we need to do to stay under 1.5C and brings the science firmly into this deal. But it needs to be implemented.
“The offsets scam got a boost in Glasgow with the creation of new loopholes that are too big to tolerate, endangering nature, Indigenous Peoples and the 1.5C goal itself. The UN Secretary General announced that a group of experts will bring vital scrutiny to offset markets, but much work still needs to be done to stop the greenwashing, cheating and loopholes giving big emitters and corporations a pass.”
“Agreement didn’t recognise extreme nature of crisis”
Sir David King, former UK chief scientific advisor, said there were real advances at COP26. But he said:
“there was no real understanding in the agreement of the extreme nature of the crisis. How do we, the current generation, ensure a manageable future for humanity? The threat to all of us from the loss of polar summer sea ice over the Arctic Ocean is a clear signal of the disaster from rising sea level, severe extreme weather events and high temperatures; but it was not addressed in any way.
“This was the meeting when the end of coal, oil and gas should have been set in place, in an orderly, efficient and fair way. The power of the USA oil and gas lobby meant that the USA was unable, once again, to show clear leadership on this critical issue.
“Countries and their leadership, fossil fuel industry lobbies, and private companies must all be held accountable for not only failing to follow up on promises made at the meeting but also for the loss of life and damage to our ecosystems that follow from their actions. National and international lawyers have a critically important role to play in managing this accountability.”
He said next year’s meeting in Egypt must set in place the “rapid phase out of fossil fuels and deforestation”. Developed economies must also take on responsibility to fund the removal of excess greenhouse gases at scale from the atmosphere, aimed at bringing the level down to 350 ppm CO2 equivalent.
“Road to 1.5C just got harder”
Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“The road to 1.5 just got harder when these talks should have cleared the way to making it a whole lot easier.
“The UK government cunningly curated announcements throughout this fortnight so that it seemed rapid progress was being made. Here we are though, and the Glasgow get-out clause means that leaders failed to phase out fossil fuels and the richest countries won’t pay historic climate debt.
“With the COP moment over, countries should break away from the pack in their race for meaningful climate action and let history judge the laggards. The UK, as a country with huge historical responsibility for emissions, can end support for a mega gas project in Mozambique, pull the plug on the Cambo oil field, stop the new coal mine in Cumbria and drilling for oil in Surrey. After all the Prime Minister talked a big game at the beginning of the fortnight.”
Mary Church, head of campaigns, Friends of the Earth Scotland:
“COP26 will be remembered as a historic failure to close the gap on 1.5oC, where rich nations shamelessly shirked their responsibility to clean up the mess that they created.
“Countries including the UK, the US and the EU are failing to cut climate pollution fast enough, failing to deliver the finance they owe countries already bearing the brunt of climate breakdown, and instead spending their energy inventing loopholes and get out clauses to avoid taking action.
“Despite this, we leave COP26 with real hope in our hearts, because people all over the world are rising up to demand climate justice in greater strength and unity than ever before.
“We’ve come together here in Glasgow 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.
“We are rising up against this system that prioritises profit over people, and we will not give up until we have created the better world we know is possible.”
“Time to go into emergency mode”
The #COP26 outcome is a compromise, reflecting the interests, contradictions & state of political will in the world today.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 13, 2021
It’s an important step, but it’s not enough.
It’s time to go into emergency mode.
The climate battle is the fight of our lives & that fight must be won. pic.twitter.com/NluZWgOJ9p
Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:
“In the last fortnight, the climate justice movement that came out in force in Glasgow and around the world became mainstream. We showed that you can’t tackle climate change without a radical transformation of the global economy and reparations from those who fuelled climate change to those facing its worst impacts. But this hollowed-out agreement shows that, for all the lip service they paid, world leaders and big business have not listened.
“From the very start, the UK presidency set this summit up for failure. A sanitised COP, captured by corporate interests and inaccessible to the global south, was never going to adequately or equitably respond to the climate crisis.
“Despite pledging to make ‘cash’ one of its key priorities, the British government has refused to stump up its fair share of climate finance, failed to push rich allies to achieve the inadequate target of $100 billion, and colluded to block proposals for loss and damage compensation for climate-vulnerable countries. Island and coastal communities are drowning – and we’ve simply averted our eyes.
“What little progress there has been, like pledges to phase out coal, hang by a thread because the UNFCCC refuses to look at how the global trade system reinforces the fossil fuel economy. As soon as countries start enacting these pledges, fossil fuel companies can sue for huge sums under trade agreements like the Energy Charter Treaty.
“This agreement would have been an important document 20 years ago, but we are well past this stage now. We don’t have time for baby steps towards climate action. 1.5 degrees may not yet be dead, but it is on life support. The next COP must be a reckoning for the fossil fuel industry and the rich countries that caused the climate crisis. Anything less will consign us to devastation.”
“Coal deal was a real blow”
Tina Stege, delegate for the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, said the last minute change to wording on coal was “a real blow”. She said:
“We had already swallowed changes that were already difficult to swallow.
“We fought really hard for other elements of the package.”
She said it was a deep disappointment to swallow. We weren’t in the room when the wording change was agreed, she said.
“This is where we are. We do have a package that has a doubling of adaptation finance, which small islands coalition brought to the table. They are really important pieces we could not afford to lose.
“We fought a good fight and we are going to live to fight another day. As a small island nation I can be deeply proud. It is a package that helps to keep 1.5 within reach.”
“Not in line with urgency and scale required”
Shauna Aminath, Maldives environment minister, said:
“The Maldives notes the incremental progress made in Glasgow that’s not in line with the urgency and scale required. What is balanced and pragmatic to other parties will not help the Maldives adapt in time. For some, loss and damage may be the beginning of conversation and dialogue, but for us this is a matter of survival.
So while we recognise the foundations that this outcome provides, it does not bring hope to our hearts, but serves as yet another conversation where we put our homes on the line, while those who have other options decide how quickly they want to act to save those who don’t.
We have heard that the technology is available. We know trillions are spent on fossil fuels. So we know that this is not about the lack of either of them. We have 98 months to halve global emissions. The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us.”
“Leaders chose to sign a death warrant”
We’ve emitted 1/4 trillion tonnes of CO2 since Paris in 2015 when our ‘so-called’ leaders signed up to cut emissions in line with 1.5-2°C. Yet here at #COP26 world leaders collectively chose to sign a death warrant for many of our own children tomorrow &poorer communities today.— Kevin Anderson (@KevinClimate) November 13, 2021
“Agreement worth having”
The former UK climate envoy, John Ashton, said he completely understood the anger and disappointment of vulnerable nations.
” I think the outcome of the loss and damage mechanism is well below what anyone can be proud of.
“I think it is very hard to look at a phrase like ‘inefficient fossil fuel subsidies’ or ‘phase down coal’ and convince people on the outside of the tent that they are anything but ‘bla, bla, bla.”
But he said the agrement was worth having.
“It may not be salvation but it may be just a lifeline. There is still a llittle bit of time to ratchet up ambition to get at what’s needed.
He said there was a big climate gap between emission reduction actions and what was needed and a gap between the developed and climate-vulnerable nations.
“Moved the dial”
Richard Black, research fellow , Imperial College
“This summit has definitely moved the dial on several aspects of climate change – governments have taken steps to improve the lot of the most vulnerable nations, the missing pages of the Paris Agreement rulebook have been filled in, and governments that are marking time on emissions reduction are requested to come back next year with a more serious offer.
“Above all, for the first time all governments formally agreed that phasing out coal is essential to combatting climate change and that fossil fuel subsidies should go as well. They didn’t all want to, but reality is sometimes impossible to wish away. Some will have been looking to COP26 to solve climate change, but no summit could ever do that. It has done enough, however, to keep the 1.5°C target in play – but individual governments have a lot of work to do quickly to turn pledges into action.”
Poorer nations “kicked to the curb”
COP26 Coalition spokesperson, Asad Rehman, said:
“We are frustrated and angry that another COP has further entrenched the injustices causing misery for millions around the world, while shoring up the profits of corporations and rich countries.
“The UK was tasked with the 1.5 COP, but what they’ve delivered is the 2.5c COP. More interested in pruning their feathers with press releases and announcements, they’ve failed to do their job.
“We needed rich countries to step up and finally do their fair share of climate action, while providing compensation for the destruction to lives and livelihoods already being caused by climate change in countries who have done least to create this crisis.
“Instead, the needs of poorer countries have been kicked to the curb, in favour of keeping the hugely over represented fossil fuel lobbyists happy.
“Rich countries have tried to make it look as if they care about climate change – but it is clear that they plan to continue polluting with impunity, sacrificing the poorest as they do so. The oil and gas industry, once again, is off the hook and leaves COP26 laughing all the way to the bank.
“Developing countries, already overwhelmed by the Covid crisis, inequality and a spirally debt crisis, desperately needed huge increases in financial support to deal with the impacts of climate change, and compensation for the damage already done. Yet rich countries flatly refused to put hard cash on the table, offering a pitiful advice helpline instead.
“At COP26, the richest got what they came here for, and the poorest leave with nothing.”
“A lot more to do”
Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, said:
“Paris is working. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we have accelerated action, the COP has responded to the IPCC’s call to close the gap towards 1.5, and coal is in the text. But there is a lot more to do.
“The commitments and claims of the first week on finance, forests, end of public finance for fossil fuel, methane and cars must now be translated into real policy and incorporated in the new NDCs that has to be delivered by 2022. And Oil and gas production still to be addressed.
“Greenwashing is the new climate denial, and we have seen too much at play in this COP. We must strengthen accountability mechanisms for net-zero going forward. We see through the discussions in Glasgow that the international finance system is not fit for the challenge and is unable to respond to the call of Mia Mottley, PM of Barbados. It needs to be fixed by world leaders now.
“And we must address the impacts of the climate crisis on the most vulnerable. This COP has failed to provide immediate assistance for people suffering now. I welcome the doubling of adaptation finance as climate impacts are every year stronger, loss and damage must be at the top of the agenda for COP 27.”
“Tools to avoid double-counting”
Kelly Kizzieri, VP of Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund:
“The agreed Article 6 rules, while not perfect, give countries the tools they need for environmental integrity, to avoid double counting and ultimately to clear a path to get private capital flowing to developing countries. The carbon market rules allow countries to focus their efforts on ambitious implementation of their emission-cutting targets.
Today’s agreement on Article 6 provides the rules necessary for a robust, transparent and accountable carbon market to promote more and faster climate ambition and create a further avenue for finance flows from developed to developing countries.
The decision eliminates double counting for compliance markets and establishes a strong framework to ensure appropriate accounting for voluntary carbon markets that also supports emission reductions in countries hosting carbon market activities. The carry over of credits left over from the Clean Development Mechanism is not fully restricted with some 120 million tonnes carried forward, but their use is restricted to the first cycle of national commitments.“
“Failed on desperately needed changes”
Luisa Neubauer, activist from Germany, Fridays for Future
“We are not facing some interesting diplomatic puzzle, we are facing a climate catastrophe. This COP failed to introduce the systemic changes we so desperately need. Heads of State have not delivered what we demand, but the climate movement is growing and more people are coming on board. When we say “1.5 is not negotiable”, we mean it.”
We’ll update with new reaction as we get it.
DrillOrDrop’s reporting from COP26 was made possible by donations from individual readers