“Blah Blah Blah” – Greta Thunberg on the UN’s New Climate Deal

Since her famous speech to the UN, Greta Thunberg has been something of a divisive character. Members of her generation see her as a revolutionary, a true voice of her generation – galvanizing an entire movement in young people across the world. Older generations have labelled her problematic and troublesome, a thorn in the side of conservatives and climate sceptics.

Credit: Business Insider

The COP26 Climate Deal was recently resolved in Glasgow, Scotland. There have been various reactions from diplomats, experts and commentators alike. Many have said the targets are not far-reaching enough, with the current UN head Antonio Guterres tweeting this:

“The COP26 is a compromise, reflecting the interests, contradictions, and state of political will in the world today. It’s an important step, but it’s not enough…Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are knocking on the door of a climate catastrophe.”

In contrast, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a slightly more optimistic take:

“There is still a huge amount more to do in the coming years. But today’s agreement is a big step forward and, critically, we have the first ever international agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

“Global Greenwashing”

Greta Thunberg has decried the results, labeling COP26 a “failure” and demanding action on behalf of the youth:

“A two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah. It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global greenwashing festival. They cannot ignore the scientific consensus and they cannot ignore us.”

Despite the commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the conference had some controversy at the end, as India (backed by China and other coal-dependent developing nations) coerced the conference into changing a clause calling for the “phase-out” of coal-fired power. The wording was changed to “phase-down”. This was meant with dismay from other members of the delegation, mainly European nations.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace, saw the glass as half-full.

“They changed a word but they can’t change the signal coming out of this COP, that the era of coal is ending,” she said. “If you’re a coal company executive, this COP saw a bad outcome.”

Ultimately, the COP26 conference had the unenviable task of balancing the demands of climate-vulnerable nations, big industrial powers, and those like India or China who are currently dependent on fossil fuels to lift their nations out of poverty. This is a very difficult concept on paper, much less in practice – hearing the voices of 200 countries on what is a mounting global problem – the reality is finding a consensus between these needs and expectations that ensures all interests are served is virtually impossible. The ongoing commitment to the Paris agreement of 2015 is seen by many as not enough – but in this thorny political situation, it might just be the best we can expect for now.

Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Breaking News Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!