COP25 efforts utterly inadequate
This is a resounding affirmation of the next generation’s surging prominence in worldwide efforts to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Greta is the publication’s youngest individual to be chosen for this honour, which dates back to the 1920s.
Greta’s recognition by Time turns the spotlight on the vexed issue of our imperilled planet, and she’s become a leading face of a movement that has inspired millions of other children in at least 100 countries to argue passionately for action against climate change.
The teenager’s honour coincides with COP25, the UN climate change conference, which ended in Madrid, Spain, in the early hours of Saturday.
COP25 was graced by rulers and delegates from almost 200 countries with the purpose of negotiating more ambitious plans to limit global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. It also sought to establish new international rules for emissions trading, and broker systems of compensation for poorer countries already affected by global warming.
The Alliance of Small Island States, representing nations most at risk from rising seas, regards the talks as the last chance to avert potential catastrophe, while Save the Children warns that 33 million African children are facing hunger as a result of cyclones and droughts made more likely by climate change.
COP25 has come and gone, but the quest for a global agreement, supported by all including the big polluters such as the US, is still elusive. Activists complain that negotiators continued to ignore the science. The COPs were born in 1992 and since then we have had disappointment after disappointment. COP17 was held in Durban in 2011 - and since then several conferences have been held, with the last moment of real hope being the Paris Agreement in 2015. There has not been the same level of enthusiasm from world leaders since. Experts warn that the planet is nearer “the point of no return” and say current attempts to combat climate change are utterly inadequate. Young activists such as Greta are sounding a warning that current efforts by world leaders are utterly inadequate.
We cast our eyes to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, next December, with hope, but not much inspiration.