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The Failure that is the 2021 Global Climate Summit

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

by Caleb Rogart

The 2021 Climate Summit that took place in Glasgow, Scotland this fall was hardly anything that environmentalists and common folk could draw any semblance of hope from. Representatives at the summit were exhausted, protestors outside the chambers were furious, and environmentalists were severely disappointed. This animosity did not come from out of left field, however; rather, it was similar to a weed. It began as a small, unnoticeable problem, until it grew and spread widely and could become an infestation that may doom the garden that is our Earth.

To start off, one must address the few positives that the Climate Summit produced:

  • A methane pledge had about 100 countries agree to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas by 2030.

  • More than 40 countries agreed to have a shift away from coal, so the  Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans was made.

  • An increase of support for developing countries was made by distributing a total of roughly $100 billion per year.

These are all good visions, and it indeed is a decent start. However, look back to 2016 and question what has happened since the Paris Climate Agreement. Has anything changed? The answer is not much. Many of the ideas introduced during the 2021 Climate Agreement can be found in the climate agreement of 2016, such as limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. This and other goals are great, but what steps are being taken to abide by these plans? Yes, the $100 billion to developing countries and “promises” to stop supporting gas products and companies is commendable. However, what will ensure that they will be carried out? Many countries, especially the United States, have talked about clean energy for decades, but seem to be only slightly closer to reaching a country that uses a majority of clean energy rather than fossil fuels.

This leaves a major question remaining; have the goals made in 2016 not been fulfilled, or are the same ideas being spoken again over and over again? The answer is both. Many countries, the largest being China and Russia, are massive blockades that prevent a significant amount of progress in the fight against environmental ruin. Not only that, but the countries who claim to be advocating for more liberating environmental change are also the ones who hold the mindset of, “The text (agreement) represents the ‘least worst’ outcome,” as commented on by the top negotiator from New Zealand. Least worst? Least worst is not enough. It is so far from what the world needs that it is laughable. People across the world, from all different backgrounds and situations, are upset. They ought to be and have every right to be.

How would this be fixed? There must be more internal improvements and willingness to change for the overall betterment of the modern climate crisis. It must be stressed that clean energy creates millions of jobs, safer working conditions, and obviously it leads to healthier environmental conditions for the entirety of earth.

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