Published: 06th November 2021
Climate activist Greta Thunberg calls COP26 'greenwash', 'PR campaign'
She said that the summit has become a venue for world leaders and business executives to pretend they are taking action on climate change without following through
Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg on Thursday called the COP26 climate summit a "greenwash campaign, a PR campaign". Speaking on the sidelines of the summit meeting, Thunberg said the event was "sort of turning into a greenwash campaign, a PR campaign," for business leaders and politicians, reported The New York Times (NYT).
She said that the summit has become a venue for world leaders and business executives to pretend they are taking action on climate change without following through and termed the United Nations climate conference in Scotland as a 'failure'. "Since we are so far from what we actually needed, I think what would be considered a success would be if people realise what a failure this COP is," Thunberg said.
Thunberg and other activists also spoke about the critical role that young women have played in pressuring world leaders to take action on climate change, reported NYT. At panel events on Thursday at The New York Times Climate Hub in Glasgow, Thunberg and other young female activists, including Vanessa Nakate and Malala Yousafzai, also spoke about the critical role that young women have played in rallying protesters and pressuring world leaders to take action.
"It is the young people, especially young women who are the voices of the climate movement, and that gives hope to so many people," Yousafzai said. Nakate, a 24-year-old climate activist from Uganda and founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement, said at the panel discussion that the pledge by leaders of the 20 largest economies to "pursue efforts" to keep the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius did not go far enough.
She said that 1.5 degrees would "not be safe" for communities like hers. "Even right now, it's already evident that the climate crisis is ravaging different parts of the African continent," Nakate said.
Yousafzai, 24, said that women were disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. "Treating climate change and gender inequality and girls' education as separate issues is not doing justice to the cause of creating a fairer and better and cleaner world for all of us," Yousafzai said. "It is important that we take these issues seriously and see the link between all of these."
The comments came on the fifth day of the summit meeting, a gathering that John Kerry, the United States climate envoy, had billed as the planet's "last, best chance" to curb the fossil fuel emissions that are driving climate change, reported NYT.
More than 39,000 diplomats, business leaders and activists have registered for the event in hopes of hammering out agreements to reduce emissions and keep the average global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial levels, by the end of this century.
That's the threshold beyond which many scientists say the planet will experience catastrophic effects from heat waves, droughts, wildfires and flooding. The average global temperature has already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius. So far, leaders and business executives have made some significant commitments. On Tuesday, more than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by 30 per cent by 2030.
And, on Wednesday, a coalition of the world's biggest investors, banks and insurers that collectively control USD 130 trillion said they were committed to financing projects that would help get companies and countries to net-zero emissions by 2050, reported NYT.
However, environmentalists criticized the financing pledge as lacking in detail. Several key leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, were also criticized for not attending the event in person.
Environmentalists said that China and Russia's targets are not ambitious enough, and activists are skeptical that Bolsonaro will follow through on his country's pledge to end deforestation by 2028, reported the NYT.