Former US President Barack Obama Monday protested the world was “too far” from the goals set at the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action. “We are nowhere near where we should be,” Obama told the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland.
“To begin with, despite the progress that (the) Paris Agreement has made, most countries did not comply with the plans established six years ago,” he added.
Time is running out: we have made important progress since the Paris Agreement, but we must do more, both collectively and individually, he went on.
The former Democratic head of state also pointed out that what small island states are going through these days heralded imminent disasters. “If we don't act, it will be too late, he insisted.
Obama also said “we all have a role to play, we all have a job to do, we all have sacrifices to do. Those of us who are richer have contributed to aggravating the problem and that is why now we have an extra weight to bear to help and assist those less responsible or less capable, but at the same time the most vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis.
The former leader also lashed out at Donald Trump. In the United States -explained Obama- some of the progress in the fight against climate change came to a halt when my successor decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement during the first year of his mandate.
The impatience of young people is vital to push world leaders to take action to address the climate emergency and ensure that the commitment to contain global warming to within 1.5 degrees above expectations is maintained,” Obama added.
The former US president said real progress had been achieved this year at Glasgow. They are not enough, but they are advances, said Obama, who also pointed out that “it was particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the largest emitters, China and Russia, refuse even to participate in the program, and their national plans reflect what appears to be a dangerous absence of urgency: the desire to maintain a status quo, he went on.
This, he continued, is a shame. We need advanced economies like the United States and Europe to lead this problem, but we also need China and India, Russia and Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil. We cannot afford anyone on the sidelines.
But Obama's words also received an onslaught, When I was 13 years old, in 2009, you pledged $ 100 billion to finance the fight against climate change. The United States has betrayed its promises, this will cost the loss of lives in Africa, said activist Vanessa Nakate on Twitter.
The richest country in the world does not contribute enough to the funds to save lives. You want to meet the youth of COP26, we want the facts,” she elaborated.
Barack Obama warned attendees at the COP26 summit that the world was “collectively and individually... falling short” in tackling the climate crisis. The 60-year-old Obama also pointed out that “we have not done nearly enough to address this crisis, we are going to have to do more and whether that happens or not to a large degree is going to depend on you – not just you in this room, but anybody who’s watching or reading a transcript of what I’m saying here today.”
Obama also expressed thankfulness for what could be done during the Donald Trump years while the US had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, thanks to “the determination of our state and local governments, along with the regulations and investment that my administration had already put in place, we were able to keep moving forward despite hostility from the White House.”
Mr Obama said the election of his close friend President Joe Biden and the rejoining of the Paris accords meant that the US “is back” in the fight against climate change and that the country would now act “more boldly”.
“We need advanced economies like the US and Europe leading on this issue, but you know the facts – we need China and India leading on this issue. We need Russia leading on this issue, just as we need Indonesia and South Africa and Brazil leading on this issue,” Obama insisted.
Keeping global temperature rises limited to 1.5ºC “will not be easy,” he also warned.