“‘The real work [to slow climate change] continues outside these halls.’”
— Greta Thunberg
One of the most recognized faces in the climate-change fight, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, expressed displeasure for what she sees as a global pact ravaged by compromise emerging from the two-week Glasgow U.N. summit Saturday.
Government negotiators from nearly 200 countries have adopted a new deal on climate action after a last-minute intervention by India, and backing from China, to water down the language on cutting emissions from coal. India’s growing energy needs still require the fossil fuel for now, it argued, and said it would not sign on without the change.
The final statement from the Conference of Parties, or COP26, calls on countries to “accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” Earlier language pushed for all oil
subsidies to end and it called for a phaseout, not the phase-down, of coal.
Of the three fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — coal is the biggest polluter. It’s responsible for about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Thunberg on Friday spoke at her weekly protest outside Sweden’s parliament in Stockholm, a repeat action that has prompted thousands of school-age children worldwide to skip school on Fridays in a call for climate action. Thunberg’s high profile both before and during the Glasgow event are emblematic of rising interest among young people when it comes to climate change.
That may be because today’s kids will suffer many more instances of extreme heatwaves and other climate change-fueled disasters over their lifetimes than their grandparents, assuming limited or no action to curb emissions, according to the journal, Science.
The average 6-year-old will see twice as many wildfires, 1.7 times as many tropical cyclones, 3.4 times more river floods, 2.5 times more crop failures and 2.3 times as many droughts over their life as someone born in 1960, the study found. The analysis found that only those under 40 years today will live to see the consequences of the choices made on emissions cuts.