Barack Obama has criticized the lack of "urgency" from China and Russia to the climate crisis, in the most expected speech of COP26. Former North American president, who joined forces with Xi Jinping and Valdimir Putin in the Paris Agreement in 2015, lamented the absence of the two presidents in Glasgow.
"It is particularly discouraging to see that the leaders of two of the biggest issuers have declined their assistance to this conference," Obama said. "And his plans reflect what appears to be a worrying absence of urgency, or a maintenance of the status quo in the two countries. And that is unfortunate."
"The United States and Europe must lead in this matter," said the former president. "But we can not allow other countries, such as China or India, such as Russia, such as Indonesia or Brazil, stay in the gutter."
"I recognize that we live in a difficult time for international cooperation," Obama recalled. "We are assisting geopolitical tensions caused partly by the pandemic, and in part by the rise of national and tribal impulses (...) The lack of multilateral leadership by the United States for four years has also contributed to this situation".
Obama made self-criticism and recalled how the withdrawal of President Trump of the Paris Agreement meant "a paron to efforts to reduce emissions." "But the United States has returned," he stressed. "And anyone who has seen these days run from one place for another to our special climate envoy John Kerry can say that we are taking it seriously. The infrastructure plan driven by President Biden also sends the world a powerful signal: States United must lead with the example ".
"Paris was nothing more than the beginning, and not a point of arrival," he recalled. "There we created a framework that has allowed us to advance these six years, but we have not done enough, there have been good news here in Glasgow, with methane agreements and against deforestation, but we are still far from getting what is needed And there are countries that may request more ambition (...) Achieving a maximum increase in temperatures of 1.5 degrees will require a lot of work. Getting people working together on a global scale requires time, but time is what We do not have, and only by pressing for more and more is how we are going to achieve the partial victories that we need ".
Obama, who gave the discourse without a tie and as "a private citizen," he recalled his status as a father of two daughters and dedicated the final part of his speech to young people, "who are the ones who are most played with all this. The President North American lied without ambages to Greta Thunberg and his work in the last two years: "The protests are necessary to raise awareness."
"I did not reach the cover of 'Time' at age 16 for missing school and fighting climate change, two things that did not think they were connected," Obama said. "But let me tell you one thing: the world is full of Gretas, and that is something I have been able to check through work at our foundation with young people in these years."
Obama did at the end an appeal to perseverance and stood up the delegates as never before since he started the summit: "Young people say, we want you to continue angry and frustrated, but channel that frustration. Keep pressing, because that is What you have to do before a challenge like this. We are not before a sprint but before a marathon. "
In its passage through Glasgow, former Democratic leader recognized the role of the island in Paris and supported the coalition by high ambition to impose "a firm limit of 1.5 degrees" in the maximum increase in temperature global. "Science has been very clear and extreme temporal have shown the danger that we run its line," Obama said.Updated Date: 08 November 2021, 12:04