COP 26: What it is, why we care and what’s even more important

Members of Extinction Rebellion protesting

To say it’s been a hard year, well that’s an understatement. But while the pandemic was often front and center, this was the year that, due to extreme heat and biblical flooding, unrestrained wildfires from Australia to the Western States, the urgency of the climate catastrophe finally seemed to break through. That brings us to COP26, the Global UN conference that will help determine our future on this often abused yet up to now forgiving planet.

So…a little background.

COP means “Conference of the Parties” designated by the United Nations as the decision making body that reviews and implements international climate agreements.

  • The first was in Berlin in 1995.

  • COP 21 brought us the Paris Agreement. That was considered a legally binding agreement adopted by 196 Parties to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

  • The idea was to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.

  • Instead of that 1.5 or even 2, we are heading towards 2.7 by this century’s close.

One of the issues at the forefront has become the insane levels of immense harm those responsible for the climate catastrophe have wreaked upon people whose footprint barely registers. (meaning the richer countries are effectively screwing the poorer countries) This means a very small percentage of “actors” mostly from the developed countries need to change the way they currently act. AND that these actions cannot come on the backs of vulnerable populations. It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyways:

A climate justice lens must be an integral part of the COP26 agreement(s).

 

 

The Indigenous Climate Action Group will be at COP26

This brings us to…who is actually coming?

  • The negotiations will be conducted by high-level government officials from member states.

but

  • the battle-lines will be drawn between the Corporations trying to buy influence and

  • the Activists trying to save our planet.

“Each day without climate action is a day wasted.”

— Sir David Attenborough

Extinction Rebellion will be there and everywhere. Their COP26 Rebellion statement is worth a read:

“This is the story leading up to COP26..a tale of deceit, greed, stupidity, injustice, failure and cruelty by world governments and their corporate partners. …­ After nearly 40 years of warnings and 30 years of international climate negotiations, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by over 50% since 1990.

On the road to COP26, Extinction Rebellion has been rebelling and protesting for most of the year. While we have rebelled, this summer has seen the IPCC’s frightening ‘code red for humanity’ report, another catastrophic wildfire season, floods from Germany to Cameroon, and apocalyptic droughts affecting millions in Syria, Argentina, and the world at large. The rapidity with which our life-support systems are buckling has shocked even seasoned climate scientists.

We’ve rattled them, out-argued them and exposed their empty climate rhetoric. After a year of astonishing and creative protest, we arrive at COP26.”

For more info go to: XR Cop 26 Rebellion and while there, so this ain’t all so damned depressing, click on “It Could Be Different

And Sidenote not sidenote: Please, Continue to VOTE

We realize how crushed many are by the seeming inaction and sickening compromises in Congress over the clean energy part of President Biden’s agenda. That Senator Manchin, the Democrat from a coal burning state who makes millions a year from burning coal, is stopping common sense and long overdue measures just about takes the air out of the balloon. It’s causing many activists to say it doesn’t matter who gets in so why vote? While we agree with the sentiment, we’re asking you to rethink that position.

  • We vote because of the possible. (Bernie, A.O.C. Pramila Jayapal, Warren)

  • WE VOTE BECAUSE there are 50 REPUBLICAN senators BLOCKING ALL PROGRESS AND SAYING NO to EVERYTHING.

  • We vote because it’s a miracle we’re back at COP26 at all. One of Donald Trump’s most deadly acts (of which were manifold) was to withdraw the US from the Paris Accord. One of Biden’s first acts was to rejoin it in an effort to restore American credibility on climate change. Without that, we wouldn’t even be there.

So we rally, and fight, and agitate, and build community on micro to macro levels. At the very least, almost every country in the world is showing up. Despite setbacks, there has been progress. We imagine a fossil (which includes plastic) free world regenerating and evolving into one of equity and health.

If you didn’t click on “It could be different” by XR above, here are a few major points:

  • Two thirds of people in the world NOW think climate change is a GLOBAL EMERGENCY

  • 74% of people in the G20 countries want climate crises and protecting nature prioritized over job and profit.

  • Many of the solutions already exist and just need to be implemented.

  • Indigenous people, experts, scientists and policy makers have solutions that can be mobilized immediately.

So though we’re clear eyed that this is an uphill battle, with pressure, especially from this the most climate active generation, we’ll get there. Why? Because the alternative is unthinkable.

Covid numbers are falling. It’s safe to be outside and protesting because it’s bodies that we need, it’s numbers that will take us to the tipping point because it is upon us.

Join the Climate Justice Movement at COP26.

More Info For:  The Global Day of Action

More Info on: The People’s Summit here

–KL Dunn