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Obama implores world leaders to ‘step up now’ to avert climate disaster | Cop26

Barack Obama has referred to as on world leaders to “step up and step up now” to avert climate breakdown, singling out China and Russia for being foremost amongst nations which might be failing to lower planet-heating emissions shortly sufficient.

Obama mentioned that whereas progress has been made on the Glasgow climate talks, together with vital pledges made by nations to cut back methane emissions and to finish deforestation, “we’re nowhere close to the place we want to be at” in slicing emissions and that “most nations have failed to be as formidable as they want to be”.

“It was notably discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters, China and Russia, decline to even attend the proceedings,” the previous US president mentioned in a speech to delegates at Cop26, echoing the criticism leveled at Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin by Joe Biden on the summit final week.

Obama added: “Their nationwide plans appear to mirror a harmful lack of urgency and willingness to preserve the established order, and that’s a disgrace.”

In a few of his most private feedback on the climate disaster, Obama mentioned that “there are occasions the place I really feel discouraged, there are occasions the place the long run appears considerably bleak,” including that “photos of dystopia begin creeping into my goals”.

The Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of nationalism in nations such because the US and misinformation unfold on social media had frayed the worldwide effort to confront climate change, he mentioned. However Obama added that “cynicism is the recourse for cowards and we will’t afford hopelessness” – earlier than urging younger climate activists to maintain pushing politicians to do extra.

“If these older people gained’t hear, they want to get out of the best way,” he mentioned. “Vote like your life relies upon upon it, as a result of it does.”

Obama’s speech comes within the second week of a disjointed UN climate convention, the place world leaders have used doom-laden rhetoric whereas pledging to do extra, with new emissions discount pledges pushing down anticipated international heating, albeit nonetheless at dangerously excessive ranges.

This has contrasted with the stance of environmental teams, indigenous leaders and younger activists who’ve complained that Cop26 has been a disappointing parade of greenwashing and damaged guarantees. “You’ll be able to shove your climate disaster up your arse,” as Greta Thunberg, the younger Swedish activist, put it.

Obama sought to handle this disparity, saying that “imperfect compromises” will likely be required to handle the climate emergency.

“Gird your self for a marathon, not a dash,” he mentioned. “If we’re going to be sincere with ourselves then, sure, it’s going to be actually exhausting. The nice factor is humanity has carried out exhausting issues earlier than and I imagine we are going to do exhausting issues once more.”

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