World leaders began arriving on Monday at a U.N. conference critical to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change, their challenge made even more daunting by the failure of major industrial nations to agree on ambitious new commitments, according to Reuters.
The COP26 conference in Glasgow opens a day after the G20 economies failed to commit to a 2050 target to halt net carbon emissions – a deadline widely cited as necessary to prevent the most extreme global warming.
Instead, their talks in Rome only recognised „the key relevance” of halting net emissions „by or around mid-century”, set no timetable for phasing out coal at home and watered-down promises to cut emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg asked her millions of supporters to sign an open letter accusing leaders of betrayal.
„As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency. Not next year. Not next month. Now,” said Thunberg in a tweet.
Many of those leaders take to the stage in Glasgow on Monday to defend their records and in some cases make new pledges at the start of two weeks of negotiations that conference host Britain is billing as make-or-break.
„Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell the opening ceremony, according to advance excerpts of his speech.
„If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”