Sunday November 14, 2021
Reactions to the Glasgow Summit
From tears to accusations of fraud – everything is included
The head of the Glasgow summit fought back tears as he struggled for the final declaration. The reactions in Germany are also highly emotional: Green leader Baerbock is disappointed, FDP leader Lindner cautiously optimistic, and activist Neubauer suspects a “fraud”.
“Some people describe me as ‘no-drama-Sharma,'” says Alok Sharma, president of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow that ended on Saturday night. In fact, the British cabinet member prepared the two-week COP26 conscientiously and conducted the negotiations purposefully and soberly. In the end, however, it got dramatic: Shortly before the “Glasgow Climate Pact” was passed, Sharma wriggled with tears and apologized in plenary for the softening of the wording to turn away from coal.
China and India had achieved practically at the last minute that the decision on coal was ultimately made more vaguely than formulated in a previous version. Sharma then said he understood the “deep disappointment” of many participants from nearly 200 states. But it was important to protect the whole package. “There is a fine and fragile green thread woven around this balanced package. And I believe if either of us tears it it will all too easily come apart.”
Baerbock disappointed, Lindner optimistic
Annalena Baerbock, head of the Greens, was correspondingly disappointed. “It is regrettable that in the final phase of the conference India and China weakened the joint demand to phase out coal,” said Baerbock. The international community had recognized the threat in view of the use of coal, “but by no means banned it.” Climate conferences like the COP26 are an important place for impulses, explained the Green leader. At the moment, however, there is a lack of “the necessary joint strength for a really great departure”. With a view to the future government, she called for an immediate climate protection program for Germany in 2022. Berlin must also bring the end of the fossil combustion engine and the coal phase-out in 2030 on the way. Every sector must make a contribution so that the German climate targets can be achieved.
FDP leader Christian Lindner assessed the result of the world climate conference cautiously optimistic. “Glasgow is another step in the right direction, but not the goal,” said Lindner of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. For example, he would have “wished for even more progress” with the possibility of states being able to act on climate protection measures among themselves. The deputy SPD parliamentary group leader Matthias Miersch called for further efforts for climate protection in Germany as well. “Glasgow is an important signal, but the real work is only just beginning,” said Miersch of the “Süddeutsche”. “It is now necessary that abstract declarations of intent become concrete action.”
Neubauer sees “deceit” in the youth
The President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Dirk Messner, is also urging that emissions be reduced quickly in Europe and globally after the World Climate Conference. “The vision of the 1.5-degree limit on global warming is still alive, but its pulse is weak,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. With the Glasgow commitments, emissions reductions of five to seven gigatons could be achieved by 2030, he estimates. According to Messner, a good 20 gigatons would be necessary to stay on the path to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial age.
Climate activist Luisa Neubauer expressed herself negatively without any nuances. She condemned the Glasgow decisions as “fraud”. “This final statement is a scam,” said the 25-year-old. You betray everyone who is already facing “unbearable climatic consequences”. “And it is a betrayal of all young people in this world who are betting that governments care about their future.” Germany showed in Glasgow that it is “not one of the countries that you can currently count on when it comes to protecting livelihoods and societies,” said Neubauer, who is also a member of the Greens.