Summit Scaries


Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

By Rachel Phillips

On Oct. 31, 2021, world leaders will meet in Glasgow, Scotland to conduct the largest climate change conference since the implementation of the Paris Accord in 2016. The conference, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, will hopefully encourage not only transparent discussion but immediate action to combat the climate crisis with a more unified global strategy. It is predicted that the primary topics of the conference will be emission reduction, particularly from leading contributors like the U.S., China and Russia, as well as possible solutions for minimizing global dependency on fossil fuels. Furthermore, the climate summit is hoping to enforce the previous policies of the Paris Accord more strictly. In 2016, it was predicted that the benefits of many global environmental programs were contingent on their ability to be successfully implemented by 2030, and with that year fast approaching it becomes increasingly crucial that the COP26 conference is successful. However, while many national leaders have enthusiastically responded to the criteria of the conference, others remain noncommittal in their attendance. Leaders from China, India and Russia are not currently expected to attend the COP26, despite being amongst some of the largest contributors of carbon emissions and reoccurring victims of climate change induced natural disasters. Many world leaders, including the Queen of England, have expressed disappointment at the unwillingness of countries to act, rather than just talk about the current and future issues prompted by climate change. Similar disappointment regarding inaction has also been expressed within the U.S. While Biden is attending the Glasgow summit with former President Barack Obama in an effort to prove the shifting dynamic in the United States following the Trump administration, his environmental plan has yet to be passed. This inaction has already been criticized on a domestic level by both Democratic voters and Senators, but the greatest punditry is likely to occur in Glasgow by leading environmentalists. The United States’ inability to implement substantial changes within their own environmental structures weakens their pleas for global solidarity against climate change. If a country who leads in global carbon emissions remains hesitant to change, it becomes increasingly likely that smaller, less culpable countries will mimic the complacency. If this ripple effect occurs, the goals of the Summit are likely to be unsuccessful. However, beyond just the success of this single Summit, Glasgow may represent one of the final opportunities to minimize the potentially devastating effects of climate change on a global front. 

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