More than 120 world leaders gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday for the opening of a crucial United Nations climate summit, the outcome of which could determine the future habitability of the planet. The COP26 climate change conference opened with this dire warning from U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.”
As COP26 got underway, leaders from over 100 countries pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. India also unveiled its plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero — but only by 2070. And the United States is announcing a new plan today to reduce methane emissions.
Speaking to the assembled leaders, President Joe Biden apologized for former President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Biden said the U.S. and other nations who’ve contributed the most to the climate crisis have “overwhelming obligations” to help poorer countries contend with the climate emergency. Biden’s comments came just days after he called on OPEC to increase oil production to lower fuel costs.
Thousands of protesters have assembled outside the climate summit demanding meaningful action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is 19-year-old Mexican climate activist Maria Reyes.
Maria Reyes: “My message for world leaders is that they cannot have a climate negotiation without the people most impacted by the climate crisis present. If we allow them to do that, COP26 is going to be a rich people’s conversation. And rich people are not most affected by the climate crisis. We are.”