Climate summit begins in Glasgow: “Hear the scream of the earth”

Status: October 31, 2021 2:15 p.m.

The World Climate Conference has started in Glasgow, UK. At the beginning, UN climate chief Espinosa warned against “its own extinction”. The Pope urged the world community to finally hear the “cry of the earth”.

The United Nations World Climate Conference began in Glasgow with high expectations of the governments of the world. Government representatives from around 200 countries spend two weeks discussing a more ambitious global climate policy.

At the beginning, the UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa called for significantly more ambition from the international community in the fight against global warming. Climate protection is at a “turning point in history,” said the Executive Secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). “Either we focus on a rapid and large-scale reduction in emissions in order to achieve the 1.5 degree target. Or we accept that humanity is facing a bleak future on this planet.” Continuing this with the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases would be tantamount to “investing in our own extinction”.

Because emissions continue to rise, more climate protection commitments, especially from the major G20 economic powers, are needed, Espinosa added. This must be accompanied by more support for poorer countries. It is not only about the already promised 100 billion US dollars annually for climate protection in developing countries, but also about mobilizing trillions. A “new age of resilience” must be initiated. The negotiators encouraged them to think outside the box and to question established negotiation points.

“National climate protection goals are being reviewed”, Annette Dittert, ARD London, on the UN climate conference

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“Let’s make sure that Glasgow keeps what Paris has promised,” said Alok Sharma, who had recently been elected President of the COP 26 summit. The window to reach the 1.5-degree target is closing, he said. Floods, cyclones and record temperatures increased. The world is changing for the worse and humanity can only fight it together. “This COP is our last great hope to keep 1.5 degrees as possible. This international conference has to deliver,” said Sharma.

Schulze: “New phase of climate cooperation”

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze also appealed to the international community to draw up an ambitious joint climate plan. “In Glasgow, the world community can and must finally clarify the open questions about the rules of international cooperation in climate protection. If that succeeds, Glasgow can initiate a new phase of international climate cooperation,” said Schulze at the start of the conference.

It must now be a matter of focusing on the concrete implementation of the climate goals. “This is urgently needed: the world is still a long way from being on a 1.5-degree course,” said Schulze. What is meant is the primary goal of the signatory states to keep global warming as low as possible below 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era. The states reached a binding agreement on this at the World Climate Conference in Paris six years ago.

Müller: “Climate catastrophe can be prevented”

The acting Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller also addressed the global community: “The global climate catastrophe can be prevented. We have the technology and the knowledge, the only decisive factor is the global will to act decisively.” The industrialized countries had the “main responsibility for an ecological, social, global growth turnaround,” said Müller.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped for an “atmosphere of responsibility and ambition” to keep the Paris goal alive.

Pope: “The cry of the earth and the poor” must be heard

Pope Francis called for “concrete results” from the UN climate summit. “The cry of the earth and the poor” must finally be heard, he said in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. This is the only way to give concrete hope for future generations.

The British heir to the throne, Prince Charles, called on the heads of state and government of the G20 countries to hear the “desperate voices” of young people in the climate crisis. The world climate summit in Glasgow is “literally the last chance” for the earth, he said in Rome, where the G20 summit is coming to an end today.

Thunberg defends radical protest

The environmental activist Greta Thunberg accused COP host Great Britain of not taking climate protection seriously enough. “If you see a pattern of political decisions that always avoid taking real action, you can draw conclusions from that pattern. That is, that climate protection is really not the top priority right now,” she said. The background to this was the announcement by the British government that it would lower taxes on domestic flights. In addition, despite protests, London is sticking to the expansion of a new oil field in the North Sea.

Thunberg also defended radical forms of protest in the fight for more climate protection. Sometimes it is just necessary to annoy some people in order to draw attention to topics, said the Swede of the BBC. “The school strike movement would never have become so well known if there had been no friction, if some people hadn’t been pissed off,” said Thunberg. Of course, it is important that no one is injured during the demonstrations.

Around 25,000 people are expected to travel to the climate summit, including thousands of journalists and climate protection activists. One of the items on the agenda in Glasgow is an assessment of the voluntary national climate targets up to 2030 that the states submitted before the conference. In addition, the climate diplomats want to negotiate transparency rules, reporting obligations and the structure of international trade in CO2 emission rights. Financial support for poor countries in the fight against global warming should also be discussed.

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