(EFE).- Barack Obama on Monday told the COP26 that the world was “nowhere near” its climate targets and that more needed to be done to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
The former United States president addressed a full conference room at the United Nations summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.
In a broad speech, he set time aside to take a swipe at his successor Donald Trump, criticized China and Russia’s leader for skipping the COP26 and urged young climate activists not to give up on their cause.
“Back in the United States, some of our progress stalled when my successor unilaterally decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement in his first year of office, I wasn’t real happy about that,” he said.
He argued, however, that the US weathered the “active hostility toward climate science” from Trump’s White House.
“The American people managed to still meet our original commitment under the Paris Agreement.”
“And now, with President (Joe) Biden, and the US administration rejoining the Agreement, the US government is once again engaged and ready to take on a leadership role.”
“We are nowhere near where we need to be yet.”
He continued: “Despite the progress that Paris represented, most countries failed to meet the action plans that they set six years ago and the consequences of not moving fast enough are becoming apparent all the time.”
He added that he was disappointed that neither Xi Jinping nor Vladimir Putin had attended the COP26 summit in Glasgow, saying it appeared to demonstrate “a dangerous lack of urgency.”
“We need advanced economies like the US and Europe leading on this issue. But you know the facts, we also need China and India leading on this issue. We need Russia leading on this issue just as we need Indonesia and South Africa and Brazil.”
Obama said the world was going through a period of greater political tension partly down to the pandemic, partly due to the rise of nationalism and, in reference to Trump, a “lack of American leadership.”
He said the climate crisis transcends day-to-day politics.
Bringing his speech to a close, Obama directed a message toward young climate activists, urging them to channel their anger and frustration.
“Keep pushing harder and harder for more and more, because that is what is required to meet this challenge,” he said, adding that keeping in line with the Paris Agreement pledge to hold temperatures under 1.5C above pre-industrial levels would not be easy.
“Our planet has been wounded by our actions, those wounds won’t be healed today or tomorrow or the next, but they can be healed.
“If we pledge to do our part and then follow through on those commitments, I believe we can secure a better future, we have to.
“I’m ready for the long-haul if you are, so let’s get to work,” he concluded to rapturous applause.EFE
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