Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

COP26 dispatch: Global leaders meet at COP26 as the world demands urgent climate action

published 4 November 2021 updated 15 November 2021
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COP 26, slated as the most important climate summit since the Paris Agreement was forged in 2015, kicked off in Glasgow, Scotland last Monday with a series of statements from high-level actors, ranging from heads of state, business leaders, activists, and prominent media personalities.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that without action resulting from the climate talks, ‘ the anger and impatience of the world will be uncontrollable’. However, pronouncements remain vague on the financial commitments required to tackle the climate crisis.

World leaders, specifically those in the Global North, are under pressure to deliver climate finance for vulnerable countries to fund the energy transition and adaptation mechanisms needed to avert planetary breakdown. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, wealthy countries pledged to marshal US$100bn in climate finance annually to help developing nations adapt to climate change. So far, the UK’s finance minister announced that US$130 trillion worth of assets are now being channeled to projects compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. However, the goal of halting fossil fuel investments—a critical policy move to limit warming to 1.5C—remains unfulfilled.

Likewise, these high-profile announcements come tainted with criticism that indigenous peoples’ and environmental defenders are being pushed out of the official tent. Many delegates from the Global South were not able to attend the summit in-person because of challenges such as visa problems, expensive accommodations, and vaccine inaccessibility. Civil society leaders and union representatives have criticised this year’s summit as one of the most exclusionary COPs yet.

Meanwhile, climate education has been gaining more recognition within the UNFCCC space. On Sunday, on behalf of the trade unions delegation, Education International was able to deliver an opening statement stating the importance climate education as a climate action strategy.

The Education International team is also on the ground at COP 26 to bring the voices of educators to the summit and call for concrete commitments to be made by policymakers to ensure quality climate change education for all. Join us at these events over the next few days.

Education International is also meeting with student groups, working closely with the international union delegations in Glasgow and standing in solidarity with activists from around the world who are demanding climate justice and a real commitment to a sustainable future for all.

Follow our COP26 coverage at https://eiie.io/COP26