Financing remains key point at COP26 Summit

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 04:10 |
Former US President Barack Obama (R) waves as he walks with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, between sessions during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow yesterday AFP

om developing countries attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, continue to press their concerns about the climate crisis and financing as the key sticking point.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) says climate finance refers to local, national, or transnational financing drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing that seek to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.

Despite the fact that countries are catastrophically far from the crucial goal of 1.5°C, the governments are still accelerating the climate crisis by spending billions on fossil fuels.

In an open letter, youths from different countries led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Mitzi Jonelle Tan, from the Philippines called for world leaders to take responsibility for keeping the “precious goal” of 1.5°C alive by ensuring warming does not go beyond this set target with drastic and immediate annual emission reductions, for fossil fuel investments and subsidies to end, and for state and non-state actors to be transparent about carbon accounting. 

Open letter

“We are calling for immediate and real action from governments to push aggressively for carbon emission cuts. As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency. Not next year. Not next month but now,” reads part of the letter.

On her part Elizabeth Wathuti, a young climate activist from Kenya, who spoke on the opening day of the World Leaders Summit urged governments to act now since in four years’ time if nothing is done half of the world’s population will be facing water scarcity. She added that the climate crisis is also likely to displace 86 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone by 2050.

“The decision you make here (Glasgow), will help determine whether our children will have food and water. I believe in  human capacity to care deeply and to act collectively. I believe in our ability to do what is right if we let ourselves feel it in our hearts,” she said. 

According to her, though through her organization (Green Generation Initiative) they have been planting fruit trees to provide desperately needed nutrition to thousands of children, if climate change mitigation measures are not put in place those trees will not survive on a 2.7 degrees Celsius warmer planet.

“To mitigate and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and reduce the impacts of a changing climate, climate financing is needed. The reason being, large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions as well as significant financial resources are needed for adaptation,” she added.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, one of the heads of State who spoke at the event, said young people have done the world service to bring the issue of climate change to the forefront. Adding that environmental activism has played a crucial role in influencing decisions and brought about real change.

Scrutinised by generations

United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson asked his counterparts to not “fluff their lines or miss their cues” because their actions will be watched by young people around the world and scrutinised by generations to come. 

“If we fail, they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the historic turning point when history failed to turn. They will judge us with bitterness and with a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today, and they will be right,” he said. 

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