Greenpeace: Leaders’ meagre steps on climate are walking us to catastrophe

Despite a raft of announcements, the Leaders Summit on Climate has left us stranded in a world of rising tides, melting glaciers, and deforestation. Even with new national climate commitments from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Canada, and Japan, world governments are yet to outline a clear and solid pathway to the 1.5 oC commitment under the legally binding Paris.

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International:

“Governments are shuffling about with the climate crisis, when they are capable but unwilling to run towards the real solutions to prevent climate breakdown and align with 1.5 oC. Leaders appear to be adamant about failing us, themselves and the planet, by not upholding the legally binding Paris Agreement. Governments have left us waiting for action long enough and cannot leave it to COP26. There has to be an urgent just and green transition from fossil fuels, while nature – as our biggest defence against the climate crisis – must be protected and restored.

“The Net-Zero Banking Alliance is a very weak voluntary initiative. Among the flaws, targets don’t need to be aligned with 1.5C or cover off-balance sheet activities such as underwriting. Regulators have to step in to transform the banking sector from leading on greenwashing to leading on climate.”

Janet Redman, Director Climate Campaign, Greenpeace USA:

“While we are eager for President Biden to bring the US back into the global community fighting climate change, we simply can’t claim climate leadership or achieve climate justice with the current pledges from the White House. Science and justice demand that we stop fossil fuel expansion now, make a plan for winding down fossil fuel extraction, and invest in workers and communities as we transition to a 100 percent renewable economy. To Build Back Better, Joe Biden must Build Back Fossil Free.”

Li Shuo, Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer in China, Greenpeace East Asia:

“It’s positive to see global efforts and collaborations, with East Asia a part of this important process, of tackling climate change. But with the domestic conditions of faster emission reduction becoming mature for China, Japan and South Korea, ambitious NDC targets are needed ahead of COP26. The three key emitters in the region must also support developing countries to expand renewable energy and phase out coal.”

Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist, Greenpeace Canada:

“Canada is a rich country yet its target is less than Canada’s fair share of the global effort and less than what the U.S. is proposing. Trudeau’s proposed target is less ambitious than what climate science requires, with no commitment to phasing out fossil fuels at home or abroad. He should be proposing at least a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, alongside the immediate elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and a plan for a just transition for workers as we phase out fossil fuels.”

Fabiana Alves, Climate and Justice Coordinator, Greenpeace Brazil:

“U.S. President Joe Biden should listen to Indigenous Leaders, former Brazilian Environmental Ministers, and nearly 200 groups and not sign any environmental deal with Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s commitments to not end illegal deforestation until 2030 not only falls short of what is needed for a safe climate, but he is not to be trusted because he has continued to aggressively dismantle environmental protections and prevent environmental enforcement in Brazil. He added the commitment to climate neutrality by 2050, but his policies are the reason why Amazon deforestation and burnings continue to reach record numbers. Bolsonaro also highlights the carbon market as a solution, giving fossil fuel companies a way to ‘compensate’ for their pollution with forests, instead of actually reducing it.”

Greenpeace UK’s head of climate, Kate Blagojevic, said:

“This summit has seen more targets than an archery competition. And while this momentum is important, much more global ambition is still needed if we are to stand a chance of meeting necessary climate goals. Targets, on their own, won’t lead to emissions cuts. That takes real policy and money. And that’s where the whole world is still way off course. Boris Johnson may walk away from this summit pretty pleased, with the UK still on top of the international league table when it comes to rhetorical goals. But his government is still entertaining the idea of multiple airport expansions, more oil and gas drilling and new coal mines. It still doesn’t have a credible plan to decarbonise our homes and has earmarked tens of billions of pounds for new road building. We’ll need to see one heck of a change in direction on domestic policies if we’re to have any chance of delivering on these commitments – and convincing the rest of the world to do the same.”

Melita Steele, Programme Director, Greenpeace Africa, said:

“African leaders must do more than just be at the table of biodiversity and climate summits. We need them to be serious about tackling emissions at home and unequivocal about protecting their country’s natural biodiversity in order to tackle a climate crisis which has the continent seeing worse and worse extreme weather impacts every year. Protecting biodiversity at home means making hard decisions, such as banning new fossil fuel infrastructure and making sure local communities and Indigenous People are empowered to protect their ancestral lands. For non-African leaders at the summit, while our Presidents may push for financial support, because African countries are particularly attuned to the impacts of climate change which is perpetrated by the West, there can be no resilient green recovery without debt relief.”

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