The United Nations Climate Summit was an opportunity for climate activists to share their views and make some action actually happen. Despite these good intentions, it looks like Trump may have made more of an impact than some of the climate activists that attended the summit.
This week, world leaders gathered for the annual United Nations General Assembly. This year the assembly began with a big discussion on climate change.
According to researchers, in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world must cut down the use of greenhouse gases in half by 2030 – a target that seems far from possible with current countries’ commitments.
Secretary-General António Guterres spoke at the September 23 summit addressing the issue of climate change, insisting that countries need to ramp up their individual actions on the problem.
In the months drawing close to this annual summit, anticipation was building with an increase in climate strikes. Despite this, some of the biggest economists and polluters have yet to fulfill their pledge on tackling emissions.
President and CEO of the environmental organisation at the Worlds Resource Institute made a statement: “While countries were expected to come to the Summit to announce that they would enhance their climate ambition, most of the major economies fell woefully short.
“Their lack of ambition stands in sharp contrast with the growing demand for action around the world.”
Back in 2015, 195 nations made a pledge to join together in order to help prevent climate change and stop the world from heating past the crucial tipping point that scientists have established. This pledge was crucial, with the combined strength of all these countries a noticeable difference would be made.
China, the US, and India are currently the world’s biggest emitters of planet-warming greenhouse gases. Therefore, if this commitment was followed through, this would make the biggest impact on averting a climate crisis.
However, these three most vital countries have yet to make the pledge to increase action on their national climate plans. This is assuming they are still in agreement with the 2020 deadline for these plans to be addressed.
So far only 65 countries have made the vow to up their national climate targets.
In discussions, China has acknowledged they must up their pace in order to meet their current goals but did not go into detail on how they actually planned for these goals to be met.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared at the summit he was more than prepared to double his country’s renewable energy mix. However, it was yet again silence on how these commitments were going to be followed through under the Paris agreement.
As we all know, President Trump has expressed his distaste for the issue of climate change, believing it to be nonsense. At one point issuing that he would be prepared to take the US out of the Paris agreement. Despite this, Trump managed to sit through the summit discussion for an obviously unendurable 15 minutes.
We have a climate crisis and Donald Trump spent all of 10 minutes at the United Nations Climate Summit.
He and all leaders who refuse to take action are putting the planet at risk.
When we are in the White House the “empty words” stop and aggressive action begins. https://t.co/yFWif7Ug64
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 23, 2019
After about 10 minutes in the Climate Summit, Pres Trump departs. He soon hosts a Conference on Religious Freedom. pic.twitter.com/K1crSbAYQN
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 23, 2019
Although Trump attended the summit, it was not a cause for celebration, especially for Greta Thunberg.
Thunberg shot to fame in 2018, having decided to skip school in order to stage a one-person demonstration outside Sweden’s parliament in Stockholm.
A nationwide movement was the result, and thanks to social media Thunberg was rewarded with a Nobel Prize nomination for her positive attitude and ambition in tackling climate change.
Images of Thunberg have been released from the summit on Monday, showing her disgust at Trump’s speech and overall general disappointed attitude after Trump interrupted the speech she had tirelessly worked on.
At one point Trump was spotted by the audience wearing headphones and appearing to have fallen asleep.
In spite of images going viral revealing Thunberg’s reaction, a source explained that Thunberg’s physical response was possibly exaggerated by the fact she has Asperger’s syndrome. This is a developmental disorder that can impact a person’s control over their emotional state.
In her speech, Thunberg stated: “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.
“There will not be any solution or plans in line with these figures here today because these numbers are too uncomfortable and you’re not mature enough to tell it like it is.
“You are failing us. The young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.
“Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up and change is coming whether you like it or not.”
Thunberg’s emotional speech was met with roaring applause. Her speech was no doubt made more passionate than ever based on attitudes such as President Trump’s.