The COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland reached an agreement on Saturday after running hours overtime from the summit’s original end date.
The agreement marks a historic moment for the summits, as it is the first time a text produced from the talks acknowledges the massive effect coal has on climate change.
Shockingly, none of the international COP climate summits before COP26 have ever directly referenced fossil fuels’ profound influence on the planet.
The delegates were finally able to reach an agreement after spilling into the day after the summit’s scheduled end date. The overtime was caused by disagreements over the language surrounding fossil fuels in the text, with the final version of the agreement toning down their language surrounding “phasing down coal.”
Another point of contention amongst the delegates was the issue of distributing money from developed nations to other parts of the world affected by climate change.
One of the deal’s biggest victories was the pledge to make sure global warming does not surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) past the pre-industrial temperature of the planet.
Obama calls for international cooperation to deliver 1.5 degrees
Former President Barack Obama spoke to the delegates at COP26 earlier this week, highlighting the challenge and urgency of fighting for 1.5 degrees.
“It is going to be hard,” Obama stated, regarding keeping temperatures to below 1.5C. “International cooperation has always been difficult, it is made more difficult by misinformation and propaganda that comes out of social media these days.
“Getting people to work together on a global scale takes time, and that’s time we don’t have … If we work hard enough for long enough, those partial victories add up.”
Obama said that “meaningful progress” has been made since the Paris climate accords, which he helped to strike, but acknowledged that more needs to be done.
“Collectively and individually we are still falling short on climate crisis”
“What is also true, collectively and individually we are still falling short,” the former President said. “We have not done nearly enough to address this crisis, we will need to do more.”
Obama admitted that “some progress stalled” when Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris deal. “I wasn’t real happy about that,” he added but said the “US is back” under Joe Biden’s leadership.
Last week in Glasgow President Biden apologized for former President Trump’s past actions, saying “I guess I shouldn’t apologize — but I do apologize for the fact that the United States and the last administration pulled out of the Paris accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit.”
Biden made the remarks in a breakout group with fellow officials at the conference.
Former President Obama also issued a dire warning to young people during his speech, urging them to “vote like your life depends on it because it does.”
He encourages young people to speak to their families about climate change because they will listen, saying it’s important to convert people who do not agree, or are indifferent to the issue.
“We have to do a little more listening – we can’t just yell at them or say they’re ignorant, or tweet at them,” he said.