Cop26: “Failure to agree to radical proposals would be a crime against humanity”

cop26 summit
Sir David Attenborough delivers a speech during the opening ceremony for the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow

Campaigners have warned that failure by world leaders to agree radical proposals at Cop26 would be a crime against humanity. The broadcaster Sir David Attenborough warned that future generations will ask whether sufficient progress was made at the climate conference.

  • During the opening ceremony, Sir David told world leaders that the planet is already in trouble. He’s highlighting the climate injustice facing many across the global South.
  • He said that while many discussions would take place over the coming days, in reality, only one number mattered the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, and the need to keep the global temperature rising to a minimum.
  • “The people alive now and the generations will look back at this conference and consider one thing: did that number stop rising and start to drop as a result of commitments made here? There is every reason to believe that the answer can be yes,” he added.
  • “Today those who have done the least to cause this problem are being the hardest hit. Is this how our story is due to end a tale of the smartest species doomed by that all too human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?”
  • World leaders from almost 200 countries have traveled to Glasgow to take part in the summit. Many of them believed this is as humanity’s last chance.
  • The ceremony was opened by UK PM Boris Johnson, who said there is a duty to find the funds pledged at the 2015 climate summit in Paris.
  • Johnson urged fellow world leaders not to “fluff our lines,” warning that younger generations will “not forgive us.” He said: “They will judge us with bitterness and with resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today and they will be right.”
  • Diplomats joined in the criticism, with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres saying it is an “illusion” to think that the fight against climate change is being won.
  • The analysis released by the UN suggests Cop26 has already failed in its primary goal of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C.
  • Extinction Rebellion (XR) has now said that world leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity, claiming that nothing on the table in the run-up to the summit has resembled a functional response to the crisis.
  • Green Party leaders warned that complacency from governments could undo any good work done at Cop26, saying politicians cannot operate under the assumption that any deal will, on its own, solve the climate emergency.

Speaking at the launch of the Cop26 Green Hub, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie called for large-scale public investment and collective efforts to hold decision-makers to account.