As world leaders from 190 nations meet in Glasgow, Scotland for the climate conference on Sunday, leading climate activists are preparing to hold these talks out.
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has received global attention for her demands for climate reform, has said she will protest the negotiations to raise another issue – vaccine inequality.
“Climate justice also means social justice and that we do not leave anyone behind,” she wrote on Twitter this week.
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About 30,000 people are expected to attend the climate conference, the Washington Post first reported, but the health consequences of the continuing pandemic remain a major concern.
Climate activists condemned the conference earlier this year, accusing Western nations of being unsympathetic to vaccine differences among developing countries.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly promised to spread vaccines to leaders from nations who could not access vaccines on their own, even though the British government faced criticism for a disorganized vaccine distribution system, the Post reported.
The UN warned global leaders this week that they must make major, immediate changes to the functioning of their nations if they are to avoid “climate catastrophe.”
But Thunberg has opted out of this year’s conference.
“Nothing has really changed from previous years,” Thunberg said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “Leaders will say we will do this, and we will do this, and we will put our efforts together and achieve this, and then they will do nothing. Maybe some symbolic things and creative accounting and things that do not really has a big impact. “
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It remains unclear how Thunberg expects policy-based change to happen, but global leaders are using the conference to establish national goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The UN warned this week that in order to prevent global temperatures from rising above the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, countries will have to take more aggressive strategies than previously thought.
Thunberg will still reach Glasgow during the nearly two-week-long conference.
On November 5, she will take part in a COP26 climate strike to express her frustration over the continuing COVID-19 threat in underdeveloped nations – a topic that Thunberg has made a major problem in his fight against climate change.
On Friday, Thunberg targeted the Western media and advised journalists and businesses in developed countries to report more on news south of the equator.
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“The climate crisis is not just about extreme weather. It is about people,” she wrote in coordination with Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate justice activist. “And while the global south is on the front lines of the climate crisis, it is almost never on the front pages of world newspapers.
“You have the resources and the opportunities to change history from one day to the next,” they continued. “Whether you choose to take that challenge or not is up to you. Either way, history will judge you.”