17 Nov, 2021

Liberal leaders take action at COP26 in Glasgow

The 2021 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) took place from 1-13 November in Glasgow, Scotland, marking the culmination of the work made by the UK Presidency of the Conference during 2020-2021. For two weeks, world leaders and national representatives negotiated and agreed on the way forward to tackle climate change from different perspectives including energy, transport and nature and biodiversity as well as youth, finance and innovation.

The liberal presence at this prestigious platform was very strong, with liberal Prime Ministers and Ministers as well as national and European representatives all holding speeches and negotiating on topics that matter the most for a shared European and global sustainable future.

Liberals across the globe have recognised the need for an appropriate balance between energy production, economic development and environmental protection, and have been calling for more effective responses to the challenge of climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for increased global climate ambition during the coming decade, to be able to reach the targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Liberal leaders welcome the agreements reached during COP26, but call for stronger international cooperation to raise climate commitments and implement them. Now it is the time to show real ambition and decisiveness in the fight to combat climate change. Europe and the world need to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis with solutions that generate sustainable growth and create jobs while combatting climate change and environmental threats.

Europe has a historic responsibility regarding climate change. That is why we take the lead, but we are not the only ones to shoulder that responsibility. The other major economies should urgently take equivalent action. Join Europe’s ambition”, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo stressed during his intervention at COP26.

Speaking at a side event during the Conference, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas highlighted how “climate change is not gender neutral. It will disproportionately affect women and girls, bringing along gender related risks, including sexual violence”.

More and more people around the world are feeling the effects of climate change, such as droughts and floods. We will have to take big steps at this summit, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do”, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stressed following his speech at COP26.

At the COP26 World Leaders Summit, Taoiseach of Ireland Michèal Martin said, “We come here as leaders, and it is vital that we offer the leadership the world now urgently needs. Climate change is real. We are seeing serious impacts already”.

In Europe and elsewhere young people have awakened our consciousness. It is our duty and responsibility to rise to the occasion. The European Union has heard the call and is fully committed with ambitious objectives”, European Council President Charles Michel said during his intervention at the COP26 World Leaders Summit.

The unwillingness of China and India to phase out coal, forces us to do – at least – two things: calculate what this could mean for the 1.5-degree goal and be very particular about the Carbon Adjustment Mechanism. Countries unwilling to make the necessary transition have to understand that they took the wrong turn in Glasgow”, Finnish MEP Nils Torvalds of ALDE Party member Svenska Folkpartiet said, reflecting on the conclusions of COP26.

ALDE Party and Liberal International hosted an event on the fringes of the Conference on 8 November, bringing together liberal policymakers and representatives to share their views on the ongoing results of COP26 and to align common aims. The event was chaired by ALDE Party acting co-President Timmy Dooley and President of Liberal International Hakima El Haité. See more here.

Find more about COP26 outcomes here

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