Why the UN Climate Action Summit was a disappointment

By Kurt Weatherford

Near the end of her viral speech at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, climate activist Greta Thunberg said to a room full of global leaders, “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”

After a short pause, the audience broke into applause. They must not have understood.

While there were some encouraging developments announced at the summit, including more ambitious emissions targets from some small countries, and fossil fuel divestment commitments from large corporations, the deep structural level change that the eyes of the world were looking for did not materialize.

Instead, the small countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change offered to make large sacrifices, while the large countries contributing the most to the crisis refused to increase their ambitions. Most disappointing of all is that the entire issue is likely to fade into the background at the General Assembly when the security issue of great power competition is likely to take center stage.

To say the summit was a failure would be to extreme, but the policies proposed and the cooperation demonstrated came far short of what Gretta must have wanted and what the world needs.

Read the rest of this argument in VOX

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