Parents disappointed in the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact

Acceleration of the fight against climate change, was the hope everyone has for the results of COP26.

However, parents are disappointed because “too few measures have been taken to protect the world’s children from devastating climate degradation.”

After 2 weeks of negotiations, the United Nations climate conference closed its doors on Saturday evening in Glasgow, Scotland and parents from two global networks – Our Kids’ Climate and Parents for Future Global – did not hide their frustration.

They believe that “the leaders of COP26 do not seem to understand the urgency of the climate crisis for our children”. 

“World leaders, and some more than others, have failed and they will have to reckon with their conscience when they return home with their own children and citizens,” said Maya Mailer, of Our Kids’ Climate. On the sidelines of COP26, parents from the two aforementioned global networks sent an open letter to world leaders. In that letter, nearly 500 parent groups from 44 countries called for an end to funding and exploration of new fossil fuels and a shift to renewable energy for the sake of children’s health and futures. The final adoption of the COP 26 text came after tough negotiations and last-minute changes introduced by China and India on the issue of fossil fuels.

“Children are being denied a livable planet.”

India asked to modify the final text of the agreement to say “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal power. This country has defended the right of developing countries to “responsibly use” fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming. Representatives of South Africa and China joined India in its criticism of paragraph 36 of this statement, according to The Guardian. 

The mention of “the exit from coal energy and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” appears for the first time in an official text of a COP. For South Africa, “a one-size-fits-all solution is not a good solution”. 

Rowan Ryrie, Parents For Future Global, said “The last minute changes have further weakened the wording of the agreement .” “We need a complete phase-out of fossil fuels and an immediate end to new extractions,” he added, astonished that “children are being denied a livable planet to age in”. For Maya Mailer of Our Kids’ Climate, these “ eleventh hour (…) amendments aim to give polluters a release card from prison to continue to burn fossil fuels and destroy the lives of our children and futures.”

During this COP, specific sectoral agreements were signed, in particular a 20 billion dollar agreement to stop the financing of fossil fuels abroad.

“Families are already suffering from the consequences of climate degradation”

Despite their disappointment, parents say they are determined to continue the fight for a world “without oil, gas and coal.” “So many families, especially in southern countries, are already suffering the consequences of climate degradation; it’s heartbreaking, ” said Maya Mailer, vowing to continue to fight with thousands of other parents, to end fossil fuels and“ keep my children, and all children, safe ”.“Our fierce and powerful love for our children will keep us engaged in promoting climate action until fossil fuels are history ,  said Rowan Ryrie.

This story was originally published on Le Monde Rural, with the support of Climate Tracker.

Daouda Kinda
Daouda KINDA is a young Burkinabè journalist born in Ouahigouya in northern Burkina Faso. He’s published on several topics related to politics, economy and society, but has been focusing on environmental and agricultural news for the past 3 years. Currently, he works for Le Quotidien, a Burkinabè general information medium, where he leads the environment desk.