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Climate Accountability Now

Last year's COP26 summit in Glasgow ultimately failed to deliver results sufficient to address the climate crisis, largely because major emitters continued to drag their feet. To show that they are serious, those governments must deliver on critical "climate justice" issues like financing for vulnerable countries.

DUBLIN – It has been 30 years since world leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro and agreed on a set of measures to start the global mobilization against human-caused climate change and to meet the imperative of a more sustainable development model. Their Rio Declaration affirmed that “human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”

Today, tens of millions of people who were not even born in 1992 are suffering the worst of the climate crisis. In a world already plagued by economic inequality and social injustice, COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the policy failures of the past three decades. Political leaders have not lived up to their previous commitments.

To overcome inertia, policymakers everywhere would do well to listen to those on the front lines of the climate crisis who are demonstrating real leadership and innovation. Among them are Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the mayor of Freetown in Sierra Leone, and young activists like Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti from Kenya and Mitzi Jonelle Tan from the Philippines, with whom I discussed future challenges at Project Syndicate’s “Generation Green” event last month.

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