At the top of the newscast, we heard from Prime Minister John Briceno about the demands Belize has made for climate justice. He also spoke on the country’s climate record, most recently efforts to reduce debt and preserve our natural resources at the same time. We’ve spent much of the day listening to some of the speakers at COP 26. One of the most important presenters was U.S. President Joe Biden, whose country is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide. He called for partnership in making the world better by addressing climate change and opening up opportunities for ordinary people.
Joe Biden, President of the United States of America: “Glasgow must be the kickoff of a decade of ambition and innovation to preserve our shared future. Climate change is already ravaging the world, we’ve heard from many speakers. It’s not hypothetical. It’s not a hypothetical threat. It’s destroying people’s lives and livelihoods and doing it every single day. It’s costing our nations trillions of dollars, record heat and drought, fueling more widespread and more intense wildfires in some places and crop failures in others, record flooding, and what used to be once in the century storms are now happening every few years. In the past few months the United States has experienced all of this and every region of the world can tell similar stories. And in an age where this pandemic has made so painfully clear that no nation can wall itself off from borderless threats, we know that none of us can escape the worst that you to come if we fail to seize this moment. But ladies and gentlemen, within the growing catastrophe, I believe there’s an incredible opportunity. Not just for the United States, but for all of us. We’re standing at an inflection point in world history, we have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable clean energy future. And in the process create millions of good paying jobs and opportunities around on the world. Cleaner air for our children, more bountiful oceans, healthier forest and ecosystems for our planet. We can create an environment that raises a standard of living around the world. And this is a moral imperative, but it’s also an economic imperative. If we fuel greater growth, new jobs, better opportunities for all our people, and as we see current volatility and energy prices rather than cast it as a reason to back off our clean energy goals, we must view it as a call to action. High energy prices only reinforce the urgent need to diversify sources, double down on clean energy development and adapt promising new clean energy technology so we can not only remain overly reliant on one source of power to power our economies and our communities.”
Also speaking was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also called for climate-smart agriculture and the need to protect vulnerable communities.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada: “Over the next two weeks we must demonstrate how we’ll deliver on the promise of Paris with transparency and accountability. To the world’s most vulnerable who need us to act. To indigenous people who can show us the way. To young people marching in our streets in cities around the world we hear you. It’s true , your leaders need to do better. That’s why we’re here today. What happened in Litton can and has and will happen anywhere. How many more signs do we need? This is our time to step up and step up together.”
One of the leading voices of the Caribbean region was Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who called on countries who are ready to push ahead with the necessary reforms to tackle climate change to push forward and said everyone else must push harder now to save our future.
Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados: “We can work with who is ready to go because the train is ready to leave. And those who are not yet ready we need to continue to ring circle and to remind them that their people, not our people but their citizens, need them to get on board as soon as possible. Code red. Code red to the G7 countries. Code red to the G20. Earth to COP that’s what it said. Earth to COP. For those who have eyes to see, for those who have ears to listen, and for those who have a heart to feel 1.5 is what we need to survive. Two degrees yes SG is a death sentence for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. For the people of the Maldives, for the people of Dominica and Fiji. For the people of of Kenya and Mozambique and yes for the people of Samoa and Barbados. We do not want the dreaded death sentence and we’ve come here today to say try harder. Try harder because our people, the climate army, the world, the planet, needs our actions now not next year, not in the next decade.”
Noticeably absent from the conference were China and Russia the countries with the highest and fourth highest carbon dioxide emissions respectively. The first major deal to come from COP26 is 100 nations promising to end deforestation by the year 2030.