COP26 president warns that not taking climate action would cause "monstrous self-harm"

UK - The president of last year's COP26 climate conference in Glasgow is calling for world leaders to make good on their promises and ramp up action on pledges made.

COP26 President Alok Sharma speaks at the UN's 2021 climate conference in Glasgow.
COP26 President Alok Sharma speaks at the UN's 2021 climate conference in Glasgow.  © PAUL ELLIS / AFP

Alok Sharma, who headed up the UN's 2021 climate conference, is calling for action in a Monday speech, according to The Independent. His remarks come six months ahead of the next conference.

The COP26 president wants nations to make moves that match the tune they played when they tooted their own horns about their big plans for dropping greenhouse gas emissions.

Failure to do so would be "monstrous self-harm," Sharma said, urging nations to speed up what they are doing to fight the climate crisis.

Pledges and promises need to turn into actual change in order to keep global warming below an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temps, Sharma added.

Climate action goals

The clock is already ticking, and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that our best pledges, promises, and radical climate action will give us a 50-50 shot at meeting that goal.

There's good reason to shoot for only that level of warming, because climate change's effects are already being felt today.

The blistering heatwaves scorching India and Pakistan are a preview of what's headed to the US West, where wildfire season is already burning ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the East Coast watches rising sea-levels gobble up homes and amp up heavier storms and rainfall.

Alok Sharma wants our world leaders to get their rears in gear and finally turn their "blah blah blah" of climate pledges into action – while it's still an option.

Cover photo: PAUL ELLIS / AFP

More on the topic Environment and Climate: