Experts from across the world are calling for meaningful action and you can join them by signing our petition
The world cannot wait any longer – we need drastic action to fight the climate crisis now. That’s the message to world leaders from experts, activists and politicians across the globe as nations prepare to meet for the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Speaking to The Independent, they have called for meaningful agreements to lower emissions and address the global emergency, which is already driving harsher extreme weather events, inescapable sea-level rise, and injustice for the world’s poorest.
And you can join their call by signing The Independent’s petition (scroll to the bottom of the page), demanding that leaders go as far as possible to limit global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the aspiration of the landmark Paris Agreement.
“Cop26 begins our decisive decade, when science tells us we must choose between triumph and tragedy,” John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, told The Independent.
“Inaction invites climate disaster. But if we work together, we can seize the extraordinary opportunities ahead, dramatically cutting emissions, reinventing our economies, and ultimately saving the one planet we share.”
“Cop26 is the world’s moment of truth,” added UK shadow business secretary Ed Miliband. “Are governments serious about climate action? Will our leaders fail us and future generations, or do they get it?”
Today, global temperatures are already around 1.2C above pre-industrial levels – and CO2 levels in the atmosphere are at their highest in at least 2 million years.
“We’re already seeing death and suffering caused by the climate crisis,” Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate told The Independent.
“Why is it so vital we get action from world leaders at Cop26? The reason is urgency,” added Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa in Kenya.
“I come from a pastoralist community in northern Kenya, and have seen with my own eyes the ravages of rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and drought on farming communities in Africa.
“Those people cannot afford to see countries dragging their feet and delaying urgent climate action.”
But as world leaders head into the conference, they will be faced with the reality that they are not currently doing enough to meet the Paris goals of keeping temperatures below 2C with an aspiration of limiting heating to 1.5C.
A recent UN assessment found that countries’ most recent pledges would reduce CO2 emissions by just 7.5 per cent by 2030, when compared to previous commitments. For the world to limit temperatures to 1.5C, a cut of 55 per cent is needed.
Without further action, these pledges will allow the world to heat up by around 2.7C, according to the analysis.
“Cop26 is an opportunity to advance global responses to the climate issue, starting with more committed emission-reduction targets – as current ones point to 2.7C of warming,” said Brazilian politician and environmentalist Marina Silva.
“A healthy, safe and sustainable environment has just been defined as a human right by the UN.”
Cop26 president-designate and UK minister Alok Sharma added: “People around the world are already living with the devastating effects of the planet getting warmer. And with every fraction of a degree, the situation gets worse.
“That is why countries on the front line of climate change fought so hard for the temperature goal of well below 2C, and as close as possible to 1.5C, to be enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
“We owe it to those countries to make Cop26 the moment world leaders commit to decisive action to keep a 1.5C future alive.”
The Independent’s petition is calling for leaders at the summit to take concrete action towards keeping temperatures at 1.5C by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and instead investing in green forms of electricity.
The petition also calls for leaders to tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis as one, ensuring efforts to protect and restore nature are at the heart of measures to stop global heating.
It adds that the voices of the world’s most climate-vulnerable communities, including indigenous peoples, must be at the forefront of conversations taking place at Cop26.
“Indigenous peoples, who are on the front lines of the battle to protect nature, need direct support. We are putting our lives on the line to protect biodiversity, forests, and ecosystems,” Nemonte Nenquimo, Indigenous activist and leader of the Waorani nation from the Amazonian region of Ecuador, told The Independent.
“World leaders, organisations and civil society need to back us in our struggles, and support the Indigenous movement and organisations leading solutions to this crisis.
“We need to unite in the struggle because the fight is not only up to indigenous peoples but for all of humanity.”
To join in our fight in helping to encourage world leaders to hit our climate targets please sign our petition below. We thank you for your support.