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Obama calls Russia and China to account over the climate crisis

Obama calls Russia and China to account over the climate crisis

Former President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at an event during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday. 

Barack ObamaU.N. expressed confidence climate talks Monday that the Biden administration will ultimately get its $555 billion climate package through Congress, and faulted U.S. rivals China and Russia for what he called a “dangerous lack of urgency” in cutting their own climate-wrecking emissions. 

Obama said to climate advocates, “When it comes down to climate, time really does run out.” Despite some progress since the 2015 Paris climate agreement, “we are nowhere near what we need to be.” 

He made these comments as conference leaders acknowledged Monday that there are many sticking points after a week of negotiations. After the negotiation process was completed, a review of what had been achieved and what remains to be done revealed a trust gap between poor and rich nations on climate change issues. When leaders spoke Monday about the progress made, five times in a row, developing countries used different versions of the word “disappointing”. 

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Former President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at an event during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday. 

Barack Obama waves to the cameras as he arrives at an event in the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday 
(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

The U.N. climate conference in Glasgow (Scotland) is the first U.S. president’s since helping to deliver the triumph of 2015 Paris climate agreement. This accord saw nations commit to cutting fossil fuel and agricultural emission fast enough to keep the Earth’s temperature below dangerous levels of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degree Fahrenheit). 

That joy has been replaced with worry. Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement. Although President Joe Biden brought America back into the Paris accord as soon as he was elected, many believe that Trump’s move has regressed years-old efforts to combat climate change. 

“1.5 C is on life support now, it’s in ICU,” said Alden Meyer, a longtime observer of climate talks with E3G, an environmental think tank. 

Obama’s appearance at the sidelines of talks was intended to remind governments about the excitement surrounding the Paris accord and to urge them to announce concrete steps to implement the 2015 agreement. 

“The U.S. is back, and in moving more boldly. Obama stated that the U.S. isn’t alone. 

Obama noted efforts by the United States – the world’s second-worst climate polluter now after China – stalled when Trump pulled out of the climate accord. 

“I wasn’t real happy about that,” he admitted, but added that optimism is required to save the planet. 

“There are times when I feel discouraged. There are times when it seems that the future is not bright. There are times where I am doubtful that humanity can get its act together before it’s too late,” Obama said. “We can’t afford hopelessness.” 

Obama expressed confidence that Congress will pass some version of Biden’s ambitious climate legislation, despite opposition from the Democratic party that Biden belongs to. 

He said, “It’ll set the United States on track to meet its new climate goals.” 

The 2015 relationship between Obama administration negotiators, and their Chinese counterparts, was seen as paving way to the global Paris agreement. However Obama on Monday criticized Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin for not joining the other global leaders at the Glasgow climate talks. 

“It was particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters, China and Russia, decline to even attend the proceedings, and their national plans reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency,” Obama said. 

Obama spoke Monday morning at a session about Pacific Island nations, which included those whose existence is under threat by rising oceans due to climate change. 

Former President Barack Obama speaks during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday
(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

“All of our parts are important. We all have work to do. He said that all of us have to make sacrifices for climate change. “But those who live in wealthy nations, and those who helped to precipitate this problem… we have an extra burden.” 

When he was briefing the U.N. climate conference (COP26) on the first week’s progress, COP26 President Alok Sharma had to correct himself about the number of issues settled, changing “many” into “some.” 

The three main goals of U.N. Conference have yet to be reached. Those are pledges to cut emissions in half by 2030 to keep the Paris climate deal’s 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limit goal alive; the need for $100 billion annually in financial help from rich countries to poor ones; and the idea that half of that money goes to adapting to global warming’s worst effects. Several other issues, including trading carbon and transparency, also weren’t solved yet. 

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Numerous developing countries were pessimistic. They called progress “disappointing”, and they didn’t have enough. 

Representatives from 77 developing countries and China said that until the financial pledge problem is resolved to help poor countries cope with climate change, these talks won’t be successful. 

Ahmadou Sebory Touré of Guinea, speaking on behalf of poor nations, said rich countries not fulfilling their $100 billion pledge shows those countries are just making “an empty commitment.” 

Diego Pacheco Balanza from Bolivia stated that there is a history full of unfulfilled promises and broken promises. 

People gather in the Action Zone inside the venue for the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday.

People gather in the Action Zone at the venue of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday
(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Scientists agree that global warming is urgent, despite the dire speeches made at Glasgow. only a few years away from the point Due to the increasing damage from coal, petroleum and other polluting sources, it is impossible to meet the Paris accord’s goals. 

These protests have been massive in Glasgow and Europe over the need to take swifter action against global warming in recent days. 

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Obama said to young people that they were right to be frustrated, but then he recalled the advice his mother gave him as a child. 

“Don’t sulk. He advised that people should get busy and get to work to make the changes needed. “Vote like your life depends on it – because it does.” 


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