FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2021
U.S. Climate Action Network Member Organizations Respond to COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact
GLASGOW –— As the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP26) comes to a close, climate groups from the United States Climate Action Network (USCAN) issued the following statements in response:
Collin Rees, United States Program Manager, Oil Change International:
“COP26 is winding to a bitter end as rich countries dig in against urgently needed finance to address losses and damages by communities suffering from climate impacts. Glasgow was a chance to make real progress on Loss and Damage, but once again developing countries will return home with little to show but empty promises from massive historical emitters like the United States who are driving the climate crisis through oil and gas expansion.
“For the first time, the climate talks featured a public fight over language on phasing out fossil fuels and ending fossil fuel subsidies. This is a key turning point, and we won’t go back. Equitably phasing out oil, gas, and coal must be an animating factor in every climate discussion moving forward, and our movements in the streets will make sure that happens.”
Osprey-Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN):
“We do not accept decisions at COP26 that enable sacrifice of people and sacrifice zones, or corporate colonialism, or an incremental transition to renewable energy, or false market-based solutions. Where are the government leaders from wealthy countries willing to stand up to the fossil fuel industry? And, where is the $100 billion a year promised from wealthy countries so we can move toward a just transition?
“We need real commitments on loss and damage, and robust language and policies upholding and safeguarding human rights, gender justice, Indigenous rights, and ecological integrity. Despite the incredibly unjust COP26 outcome, we the people, will continue to ceaselessly fight for climate justice and what is sacred — for the last chance for our climate and a livable future.”
Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists:
“Nations gathered in Glasgow with the undeniable reality of the climate crisis, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, unfolding starkly around the world. The world’s richest countries and largest emitters of global warming emissions — including the United States — had a chance to be climate champions, but instead failed to recognize the urgency of the science, evaded their historical responsibility, and prioritized the profits of fossil fuel polluters over the needs of people on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Current emission reduction pledges helped narrow the ambition gap somewhat but collectively still fall short of delivering on the Paris Agreement goals, putting the world on track for a temperature increase of 2.4ºC that will lead to significant, even irreversible, climate impacts. The Glasgow agreement’s unbalanced outcome also doesn’t prioritize climate finance for developing countries.
“Securing the Build Back Better Act would be a crucial step for the United States to meet its domestic and international clean energy and climate goals while addressing environmental injustices and delivering benefits to working people. Moreover, Congress and the administration must galvanize the funding needed to meet U.S. responsibilities to climate-vulnerable developing countries, including for loss and damage.
“The final COP26 decision is overwhelmingly compromised by countries that have contributed most greatly to the climate crisis and once again denies justice for climate vulnerable developing nations. Continued failure to treat climate change as the crisis it is, will condemn current and future generations to a world of untold suffering and harm. Instead, world leaders should heed young people’s urgent calls to protect their futures.”
Hailey Campbell, Director of Climate Ambassadors, Care About Climate:
“There aren’t strong enough words to convey my disappointment and fear from the outcome of this COP. This was supposed to be the most inclusive and ambitious COP to date. A COP that finally locked our global community into achieving the 1.5ºC goal and securing a safe future and just transition for young people, future generations, and those most vulnerable to climate impacts. Instead we see more empty promises, short-term solutions, tokenization of young people, and last minute non-transparent changes weakening the complete phase out of fossil fuels needed to keep 1.5ºC alive.
“Politicians and media outlets around the world are encouraging us to ’see the silver lining,’ urging us to acknowledge that we are in a better place than we were two weeks ago. There is no ’silver lining’ to life and death. There are no lifeboats to save us from the climate crisis. There are only immediate and swift actions to phase-out fossil fuels and work with communities to build a more equitable future.
“If the United States truly wants to become a climate leader, it will collaborate with diverse young activists leading the climate movement with ideas and actions — such as through a Youth Advisory Committee on Climate Change — finance loss and damage, and move beyond methane reductions toward a complete phase-out of fossil fuels.”
The mission of the United States Climate Action Network (USCAN) is to build trust and alignments among members to fight climate change in a just and equitable way. USCAN’s vision is a powerful, inclusive, and trusting network of U.S. organizations who worked together to meet the global goals in the Paris Climate Agreement and exceed the U.S. targets outlined in that agreement.