The COP-26 conference has ended with the President of the meeting, Alok Sharma, in tears and ‘deeply sorry’ for the watering down of commitments. Sheffield Green party members who were at the conference, along with Sheffield councillor Bernard Little, reflect on what they think should happen next.
Sheffield City Council member for Walkley, Councillor Bernard Little, said “It is infuriating but unsurprising that COP-26 has ended with a whimper. Declarations that countries, such as the US and China, ‘keep global warming limited to 1.5C’ ring hollow. Countries continue to chase growth and consumption. Governments, including the UK, are entranced by fossil-fuel profits, even as the reality of extreme weather events press more and more urgently on us.”
Sheffield Green Party members have been at the COP-26 conference, attending as protestors and being part of the conference itself.
Sheffield Green Party member Logan Robin was an observer at the conference on behalf of the climate charity Hope for the Future and said, “COP26, like the many UN climate summits which have come before, has shown some of the very best and some of the very worst of what humanity has to offer. We’ve seen agreement on a number of core issues which could lead to slowing the speed of climate change. But at the same time the summit began against a backdrop of failure and broken promises. It’s not too late to save the world and limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. But to do that we need to achieve and surpass our promise to deliver $100 billion in climate finance per year. Only if we put our money where our mouth is can we secure our future and our planet.”
The climate crisis is a threat that needs changes in what we value and what we aspire to. It demands urgent action. Sheffield Green Party argue world leaders need to make room for a more visionary and compassionate leadership brave enough to make the truly bold choices that are needed to rescue the future of humanity. Sheffield Green Party member Liam Hardy travelled to Glasgow to demand global climate justice. Liam reflected that “In the absence of real political leadership on the climate and ecological emergency from our government, it’s up to individuals, civil society and communities to make their voices heard, and show the way. We must rise up, not just to demand change at the government level, but also to make change happen in our lives and in our communities.”
Time is no longer on our side. Sheffield Green Party ask the people of Sheffield and the wider world to join us in demanding immediate and radical action at both local and global levels. We ask for fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, for homes that need little or no heating or air-conditioning, for low-emissions public transport to have urgent priority over polluting cars and planes. Government needs to help make this happen, but every one of us can reduce our impact by cutting excessive consumption and waste.
Councillor Bernard Little concluded: “The failure of COP-26 to address the climate crisis is not a surprise. Our national leaders are in denial about what the climate crisis really means. We ourselves have to face up to what we are doing. The better-off residents of Sheffield are consuming far more than what our world can sustain. We have to give up some of our luxuries, like flying, for the sake of our children. Our children already face greater risk of the fire and floods that have destroyed many communities. We need to act now to give them a future.”
Sheffield Green Party are in co-operative administration in Sheffield Council and pressing hard for meaningful climate action locally, including working for better public transport, better home insulation, and a food strategy. We provide leadership in the city to act on the climate crisis now and encourage people to join us.