Some of the world’s most polluting countries aren’t sending their leaders to a UN gathering on Wednesday. The goal of the meeting is to make some progress in the slow-moving effort to deal with the climate disaster, which may be the hottest year ever recorded.
More than 100 countries governments have gathered in New York for the climate ambition meeting called for by UN Secretary General António Guterres. They hope to share their latest strategies for reducing global warming and mitigating its effects. According to the United Nations, this gathering will “showcase first movers and doers” among governments ready to take action against climate change.
However, neither US Vice President Joe Biden nor Chinese President Xi Jinping have shown up to the conference despite their countries’ status as the world’s two largest carbon polluters. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron are also not present.
Sir David King, the United Kingdom’s former senior scientific advisor, stated, “We are not seeing the leadership we need.” This is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, yet nobody seems to be paying attention. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about their not showing up. It’s hard to have hope when things are as bad as they are right now.
Guterres lambasted world leaders for falling “abysmally short” in their efforts to curb global warming the day before the climate conference, which was held during the week of the UN’s annual general assembly. According to a new United Nations review of country efforts to curb emissions that warm the earth, we are now far from meeting our targets and will thus likely experience more extreme heat waves, droughts, and floods than previously predicted.
The absence of major emitters and geopolitical tensions over issues like trade and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have somewhat overshadowed the summit, which climate advocates hope will include pledges to cut emissions, phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and step up aid to vulnerable countries.
According to Alden Meyer, a specialist in international climate negotiations at E3G, “there is this stasis among the big players, and so there is a disconnect between what the secretary general is calling for and what national leaders are prepared to deliver.”
“It’s a glaring discrepancy. The national leaders are basically blaming each other for the stagnation. You’d think that this summer’s events, in which things have just spun out of hand, would focus people’s attention.
In his own speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, Vice President Biden did discuss the climate catastrophe, lamenting a year of heatwaves, wildfires, and drought. “Taken together, these snapshots tell an urgent story of what awaits us if we fail to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and begin to climate-proof our world,” Biden said. Since the beginning of my presidency, the United States has regarded this situation as an existential threat to all of humanity, not just the United States.
The Inflation Reduction Act has been enacted by the Biden administration, and it is anticipated that this will lead to a massive increase in the use of renewable energy. However, the Biden government has also approved many large new oil and gas projects. Even though he says he has already declared a climate emergency, Biden has been criticized for not doing so.
About 75,000 people marched through Manhattan on Sunday to demand an end to fossil fuels in one of the greatest climate rallies since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Activists have blocked entry to the New York Federal Reserve and picketed the Bank of America as part of a campaign against financial institutions that provide services to the fossil fuel sector.
According to Ebony Twilley Martin, executive director of Greenpeace USA, the protesters “had a clear message for the Biden administration: stop sacrificing communities.” It’s not what the majority of Americans desire. Pollution and its disastrous effects should be eliminated entirely. Communities like mine, both here and overseas, will suffer as a result of your continued approval of fossil fuel projects.
On Tuesday, it was reported that before the next general election in the United Kingdom, Sunak intends to reverse some of his government’s net-zero initiatives, such as postponing the prohibition on the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles.
“The UK claims to be a global leader for the 21st century,” Tom Rivett-Carnac, co-founder of Worldwide Optimism and former chief political strategist at UNFCCC, stated. It’s not leadership to weaken climate promises and penalize the businesses of the future for short-term political gain.
New York’s Climate Week, a loose conglomeration of activities meant to display progress in dealing with global warming, has brought a more optimistic message of technological answers to the growing climate catastrophe.
Prince William launched the Earthshot Prize in 2020 to honor those who come up with innovative ways to protect the planet, and on Tuesday he announced the 15 finalists for the award. While in New York to promote the awards, the Prince of Wales claimed he remained optimistic despite the summer’s devastating natural calamities.
The greater engine of change and creativity, he argued, is optimism; therefore, “I think we’ve got to retain optimism.” As the saying goes, “We want to believe there is hope and that there are people doing incredible things.”