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Opinion: This is the failure of COP26

Twelve days after it started, the failure of COP26 has been proven, leaving a grim picture of the future of climate change.

COP26 logo seen from a cell phone

This is a catwalk of empty words and actions that are never carried out. Photo: Agora

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Opinión: Así es el fracaso de la COP26

While we looked forward to what would be the summit that would define the government's action on climate change for the next 9 years, we encountered different ups and downs. And today, 12 days after it started, we see the failure of COP26. Why? Well, let's start by talking about the hypocrisy behind this event organized by the United Nations.

One hypocrisy after another

Before the beginning of the COP26, more than half of the countries that signed the Paris Agreement had not complied with having a climate plan to contain global warming at 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, an agreement reached in 2015. Likewise, the meetings prior to the Summit were filled with people associated with the fossil fuel industry, which is responsible for a large amount of greenhouse gases (GHG), as part of delegations from several countries. Furthermore, during COP26, there were more delegates associated with this industry than from any country.

It is enough to see how the leaders and delegates of the different countries to the Summit landed in Glasgow. Around 400 private planes and a 525% increase in plane traffic at the Scottish city's airport compared to the previous days. Calculations indicate that this can generate up to 7.2 tons of CO2, and meanwhile, at the Summit, their mouths are filled with empty speeches about the necessary actions and the sacrifices that as a species we must make to curb CO2 emissions. Why not sacrifice splurge, egos, and a private flight for commercial flights?

For example, Iván Duque, president of Colombia, who recently received an environmental award and who during COP26 was praised for his "interest" in conservation and the environment, is the same president of the country where the most environmental leaders are killed and where it has repeatedly hindered the entry into the Escazú Agreement, which seeks to protect natural territories and environmental leaders.

Discontent on a massive level

While billionaires like Jeff Bezos fulfilled their quota and with their philanthropic need to donate millions of dollars to Latin American presidents (among whom of course was the aforementioned Duque) to increase protected natural areas, on the other side of the doors hundreds of people they were protesting the hypocrisy represented by a summit that celebrates the minimal actions of rich, white men speaking out and putting everything in writing with no guarantees of absolutely nothing.

Read also: Opinion: Musk and Bezos Are Not Going To Save Us From Climate Change

These demonstrations taking place in different parts of the world show that there is discontent with the way in which climate action is being sold. We are going six years after the Paris Agreement, six years in which nothing has been achieved, in which we hear over and over again that our planet is in danger, that there are red alerts, that there is little time left for 2030, six years in which each of these we approach the limit to exceed the global temperature.

The UN is outraged that countries do not comply. Countries are outraged that companies do not comply. Companies are outraged because they are not listened to. And meanwhile, millions of people, thousands of vulnerable communities, are living the ravages of climate change, they are being massacred for wanting to protect the place where they live, and they are not being listened to. In short, they are not being fulfilled with the empty words that are launched in expensive, wasteful Summits, which only fills the ego of those who believe they are the saviors of the world because they have world order and economic interests in their hands.

The lobby stains the UN, the political leaders. Companies are being listened to because we continue to play by their rules. And then who do we trust? Most likely, once COP26 is over, our leaders will be applauded, praised and congratulated for being so conscientious, so good, so knowledgeable about environmental problems, they will go home and forget, for another six years, Stick with at least making plans that are not empty words.