The COP26 negotiations have unsurprisingly failed to deliver the solutions that we urgently need. The conference has been a parade of inaction, false solutions and greenwash from rich governments and corporations, all while claiming the summit a success. On every level, this COP was a chaotic shambles. Companies and governments treated this COP as a greenwashing PR opportunity while countries lauded dangerously misleading Net-Zero targets as a victory. The UK government, while managing COP so badly that it blocked participation of delegates from areas most affected by climate change, prioritised over 500 fossil fuel lobbyists – more than the total delegates from the 8 countries worst affected by climate change. The UK Government’s priority was to mask its own weak targets and inaction with empty announcements, reinforcing their collusion with big business and billionaires, and jetting in celebrities and world leaders with little to no part to play in the actual negotiations. This should have been the COP that limits global warming to 1.5 degrees with rich countries doing their fair share of effort, meeting their unmet promise on climate finance and delivering on Loss and Damage. Instead, COP26 has delivered an agreement which is a betrayal of the people and science, leaving us on track for a 2.7 degrees warming – putting billions of lives at risk and sacrificing frontline communities for profit.
Whilst governments failed to act, COP26 was a historic moment of growth in power and solidarity for the climate justice movement. Through our collective work over the last two years, hundreds of thousands of people across the world mobilised under a call for climate justice demanding urgent and just solutions to the climate crisis, refusing to be complacent to the lies and business-as-usual of governments and corporations. Over 800 actions were organised across the world, with over 150,000 taking to the streets just in Glasgow. Over 15,000 people attended both in-person and digital People’s Summit for Climate Justice to discuss, learn and strategise about building the movement. From indigenous leaders to youth climate strikers, from social justice organisations to trade unions, from anti-racist groups to direct action campaigns, our wider movement has gained critical momentum. We provided practical solidarity by setting up infrastructure to support those unable to attend or mobiles for COP otherwise: from running a Visa Support Service, to people across Scotland opening their homes for the Homestay Network.
Because of our collective action, the climate justice movement is more powerful, educated and connected than ever before. Our movements are growing by the day. Climate justice is no longer on the fringes – it’s now been brought to the centre of every struggle. We’ll continue to build power and challenge governments and corporations across the world. Across the world and across movements, we are seeing a new wave of resistance, global solidarity and grassroots organising. The world is at a crossroad as the crisis of climate, covid pandemic and inequality further exposes the inequities and injustices within and between our societies. We can either intensify the crisis to the point of no return, or lay the foundations for a just world where everyone’s needs are met.