Obama on Climate Fight: “I Want You to Stay Angry”

The former US president said that the world is “nowhere near where we need to be” to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Credit: Sky News

Barack Obama has urged the youth to stay angry in the fight against climate change at the COP26 summit. He asks for young people to pressure their leaders to do more to battle climate change.

Mr Obama also scolded China and Russia’s leader for not being present at the summit. And he called out nations for failing to meet the pledges they made in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

He said:

“National plans so far reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of those governments, and that’s a shame.”

What is The Paris Agreement?

It was a single agreement on cutting out the greenhouse gas emissions which are causing global warming. For the first time, all the world’s leaders were united in The Paris Agreement.

Nearly 200 countries adopted it in the French capital on 12 December 2015; it came into action on 4th November 2016.

Speaking in Glasgow, Barak Obama received huge applause when he took to the stage from the audience. He also received a standing ovation at the end of the speech. But, there was a negative response from the activists.

He also criticized Donald Trump’s “active hostility towards climate change.”

“I recognize that we are living in a moment when international cooperation has atrophied – in part because of the pandemic, in part because of the rise of nationalism and tribal impulses around the world, in part because of a lack of leadership on America’s part for four years.”

But assures the world leaders that the US is ready to lead again.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Earlier Monday, Obama appeared on a panel with leaders from island nations vulnerable to climate-fueled sea level rise.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama spoke to Mr Obama. He said that the United States and other developed nations failed to meet a 2020 deadline for offering $100 billion a year in promised funding for those countries. Rich nations now say the funds will be available in 2023.

Bainimarama said:

“Among others, the USA is woefully short of paying its fair share of climate finance,Now we, the most vulnerable, are told to suck it up and wait.”

Obama has tried to shine a light on the progress made since the Paris deal, which his administration helped broker. But he acknowledged that the deal was only meant as a starting point, with countries expected to “constantly ratchet up” their ambitions.

“Most nations have failed to be as ambitious as they need to be.”

Previous Agreements

As reported by the BBC, The Paris Agreement aimed

  • “To “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C, and to keep them “well below” 2.0 above pre-industrial times
  • To limit greenhouse gas emissions from human activity to the same levels that trees, soil, and oceans can absorb naturally – known as net-zero – between 2050 and 2100
  • Each country to set its own emission-reduction targets, reviewed every five years to raise ambitions
  • Rich countries help poorer nations by providing funding, known as climate finance, to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.”

On Monday Obama met with youth activists and climate leaders. Addressing the world’s youths directly, he said:

“I want you to stay angry. I want you to stay frustrated. Channel that anger, harness that frustration, keep pushing harder and harder for more because that’s what is required to meet this challenge.”

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