Editor: Leaders must lead but all of us can bring change

The verdict on the success of COP 26 depends on who you believe and, when it comes to saving our planet, most of us aren’t too trusting of those who hold the power.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 7:05 am
A climate protest banner on the the perimeter fence around the Cop26 climate summit campus in Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday November 13, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Cop26. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has said Cop26 “sounded the death knell for coal power”, but his delight at any progress made at the Glasgow summit is “tinged with disappointment”. Boris Johnson hailed the “truly historic” outcome of the summit, describing the agreement as “game-changing”, but acknowledged not all countries were willing to meet the level of ambition expected by many. He insisted the aim of keeping global temperatures from rising above 1.5C is “still alive”. Mr Johnson said most of Western Europe and North America have been persuaded to pull the plug on financial support for all overseas fossil fuel projects by this time next year. “And when you add all that together, it is beyond question, Glasgow has sounded the death knell for coal power,” he said at a Downing Street press conference yesterday evening.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and it’s just one of many to emerge from Cop26. Ninety per cent of the world’s economy is now following our lead here in the UK by committing to net-zero, ending their contribution to climate change altogether.

“I know it’s tempting to be cynical and to dismiss these types of summits as talking shops. But we came to Cop with a call for real action on coal, cars, cash and trees, and real action is exactly what we got.” But he added: “Of course, my delight at this progress is tinged with disappointment. “Those for whom climate change is already a matter of life and death, who can only stand by as their islands are submerged, their farm land turned to desert, their homes battered by storms, they demanded a high level of ambition from this summit.

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The final accord has come in for criticism, with Ed Miliband warning “keeping 1.5 degrees alive is frankly in intensive care”, with a “chasm” between what was agreed in Glasgow and what still needs to be done to slash emissions.

Today we start a new series asking Sheffielders for their opinion on the climate crisis and what they are doing about it themselves. If you would like to join the debate, email me [email protected] What would you change?