Ahead of the COP26 (Monday, November 1st, 2021- Friday, November 12, 2021) BBC interviewed climate activist Greta Thunberg about the climate change conference in Glasgow. BBC asks the young activist if she thinks that the conference should be take place virtually online or in person; to which she responds that “we get more results when we meet in person… but if its not considered safe, then we have to go for the safest option”. The safest option is of course to refrain from in person contact to limit the spread of COVID cases across populations. Thunberg admits that she is not certain that she will attend COP26 next month, and that her decision hinges on whether or not the even is “safe and democratic”. This likely means assuring that participants are fully vaccinated.

Greta Thunberg BBC interview screenshot

World Leaders On Climate Change

BBC then asks Greta Thunberg if Scotland a world leader with respect to climate change progress. In reply, Thunberg essentially says that some countries that have better environmental practices than others, but broadly speaking, there are no countries in the global North who are doing what is needed. I usually agree with the ambitious opinions that the Swedish climate activist espouses, and her latest sentiment is no exception. I believe that most developed nations have the physical evidence which should make climate change mitigation strategies top priority. However, the proliferation of greenhouse gas usage is not being sufficiently decreased. In other words, current rates of greenhouse gas emissions are not compatible with limiting global temperature increases at or below 2 degree Celsius (compared to that of preindustrial levels).

Thunberg’s comments almost directly counter public statements made by Scottish government, which has described its net zero emissions’ target as “world leading”. The Scottish government is aiming to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2045, which at least trumps the United States’ target of reaching net zero by 2050. Thunberg concedes that “Of course there might be some politicians that are slightly less worse than others…”. In other words, not all policy makers and world leaders are equally yoked on climate progress. However, progressive goals are not tantamount to progressive action with respect to climate change mitigation policies. As international parties prepare for COP26 in the coming months, meaningful changes must be implemented in order to secure a more sustainable future.

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