‘Last, Best Hope:’ Leaders Launch Crucial UN Climate Summit
October 31, 2021
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — A crucial U.N. climate summit opened Sunday amid papal appeals for prayers and activists’ demands for action, kicking off two weeks of intense diplomatic negotiations by almost 200 countries aimed at slowing intensifying global warming and adapting to the climate damage already underway.
As U.N. officials gaveled the climate summit to its formal opening in Glasgow, the heads of the world’s leading economies at the close of their own separate talks in Italy made pledges including stopping international financing of dirty-burning coal-fired power plants by next year. But much of the agreement was vague and not the major push some had been hoping for to give momentum to the climate summit.
Government leaders face two choices in Glasgow, Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N. climate office, declared at the summit’s opening: They can sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions and help communities and countries survive what is becoming a hotter, harsher world, Espinosa said. “Or we accept that humanity faces a bleak future on this planet.”
“It is for these reasons and more that we must make progress here in Glasgow,” Espinosa said. “We must make it a success.”
India Logan-Riley, an Indigenous climate activist from New Zealand, had a more blunt message for negotiators and world leaders at the summit’s opening ceremony.
“Get in line, or get out of the way,” Logan-Riley said.