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'We're still falling short' on climate action, Obama tells COP26
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 11 - 2021

"We're still falling short" on climate action, said former US President Barack Obama on Monday as he addressed the UN climate summit in Glasgow.
Obama said that while "meaningful progress has been made" since the 2015 Paris agreement he contributed to forge, "we have not done nearly enough."
His speech also laid out "the road ahead and what young people in particular can do to help."
"Thanks to your efforts here in Glasgow we see the promise of further progress." But "we have not done nearly enough," he insisted.
He hailed last week's agreements on methane emissions, deforestation, or coal finance as "significant accomplishments" even if they're not "self-executing."
Obama dedicated a long part of his speech at COP26 to young people. "You're right to be frustrated," he told them.
But he added: "To all young people out there, I want you to stay angry, I want you to stay frustrated. But channel that anger and that frustration to keep pushing for more and more."
To those who felt frustrated by the slow progress in climate negotiations, he said COP26 delegates from the US and other countries "really care about these issues and are listening to you".
But in democracy, "you don't always get your way," he added.
Among other advice to younger generations, he suggested the following: "Pressure companies", "don't think you can ignore politics" and "explain how important the issue is to you."
"It won't be enough to preach to the choir," he said.
Obama also criticized at COP26 the leaders of "two of world's largest emitters China and Russia" for declining "to even attend the proceedings."
"We can't afford anybody on the sideline," he insisted, while acknowledging the world was in a "moment of greater geopolitical tension."
He said climate change should "transcend day-to-day politics" and "geopolitics."
"How does that happen?" Obama wondered. "How do we bridge the gap?" "I confess I don't have all the answers," he said.
Obama added that wealthy nations have 'added burden' in climate action. "All of us have a part to play, all of us have work to do, all of us have sacrifices to make" on climate, Obama told a session for island nations in the Pacific on Monday.
"But those of us who live in wealthy nations, those of us who helped to precipitate the problem" of global warming, "we have an added burden," he said.
His comments came as the summit turns its focus to Loss and Damage, a long time-demand from climate-vulnerable nations. The COP26 climate talks are getting in the gist of things this Monday.
As the summit enters its second and final week, ministers from all over the world have arrived in Glasgow to negotiate the rules that will govern the implementation of the 2015 Paris agreement.
Loss and Damage is a longtime demand from climate-vulnerable countries, which want wealthy countries to compensate them for the damaging impacts of climate change caused by historic emissions.
Other contentious issues on the ministers' agenda for the coming days include international carbon markets, deadlines for climate targets and accountability mechanisms.
At an event on the Pacific Islands this morning, Obama described himself as an "island kid" and urged the world to listen to the message of vulnerable island nations.
A watchdog found that the fossil fuel industry had more people at COP26 than any single country's delegation.
Australia says it will continue selling coal "for decades" after staying out of a pledge by dozens of countries last week to exit the fossil fuel.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has joined a group of nations, including the United States and Canada that has pledged to stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects.
State Secretary for Finance Hans Vijlbrief called the move "an important acceleration" and a "major step in the right direction to counter climate change."
Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters in The Hague that his caretaker administration had decided over the weekend to halt the financing.
The Dutch branch of Greenpeace welcomed what it called an "unavoidable step."
In another development, a new report by Christian Aid, a non-profit, warns of the "devastating economic impact climate change will inflict on the world's most vulnerable countries."
Under current climate policies "the world's most vulnerable countries can expect to suffer an average GDP hit of -19.6% by 2050 and of -63.9% by 2100," the NGO said.
"Even if countries keep global temperature rise to 1.5C as set out in the Paris Agreement, vulnerable countries face an average GDP reduction of -13.1% by 2050 and -33.1% by 2100," it added.
Christian Aid said the report shows how much Loss and Damage mechanisms are needed to help most vulnerable countries cope with the impacts of climate change. — Euronews

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