The long-awaited United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) has just concluded in Glasgow, Scotland. Many Canadian political figures including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault were among the world leaders, activists, and land defenders that gathered for two weeks of conversation, planning, and brainstorming to address the climate catastrophe.
COP26 had the potential to unite the world in community-focused action. Yet, we've received nothing but a performance from those called “world leaders” and left with a system that continues to perpetuate injustice and create harm.
We are disappointed in how inaccessible the event was. Members of Climate Strike Canada who attended faced hours of line-ups, unsafe conditions when leaving the venue at night and were asked not to attend certain events. Badges were few and far between for those not associated with large organizations, keeping BIPOC organizers and those from the global south out of the conference. The Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) should be front and center at such conferences to help safeguard our planet, not billionaires, emitting 60 million metric tonnes of pollution while profiting off of global suffering.
It is not billionaires nor our current policies in place that will save us from climate catastrophe. This exploitative colonial system caused the climate crisis and continues to add to the crisis. The time has long since passed to restore the care of the lands to Indigenous peoples, who know and care for the land best. There is a way to solve this crisis, but not with our current system.
Despite the fact that Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet have signed many declarations, including capping oil and gas emissions and more clean energy funding, it is clear that these actions will not be enough to solve the problems we face or to alleviate the suffering of those affected in Canada and around the world.
We continue to demand the following from our governments:
Justice for Indigenous Peoples, including sovereignty of the land and ending all boil-water advisories.
Stop fossil fuel subsidies from all institutions.
Annual, binding carbon budgets that factor in justice and equity, roadmaps, and milestones to get to a target of real zero, not a net-zero plan full of loopholes for big polluters.
A Green and Just Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic prioritizes uplifting marginalized communities and vulnerable ecosystems that are hardest hit by climate change.
Implement a strong climate plan based on the best available science as it emerges that achieves a 60% reduction of 2005 levels by 2030, and full decarbonization by 2050. This plan must be measurable, concrete and justiciable, to ensure accountability.
To ensure safe living conditions for the people of this planet, we once again call on our governments and corporations to perform deeds, not words.