The people must hold world leaders’ feet to the fire
The climate crisis, perhaps more than any other in history, feels disempowering. What am I to do in the face of global, industrial catastrophe?
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, marine biologist and co-editor of the book “All We Can Save,” described at a virtually held climate conference last week hosted by Citizens’ Climate Lobby how the best thing we can do is to join an organization and work in unison with others. Apart we are small, but together our collective voice has power. Changes to reduce our individual carbon footprint can feel burdensome, but participating in directed, collective action, such as calling members of Congress on a specific day with a targeted message, can both feel empowering and have an outsize impact.
This is why I take issue with the thrust and headline of the recent article “Climate promises rest with handful of leaders” (Page A4, Nov. 15), about the COP26 UN conference in Glasgow. Yes, those leaders hold the power to realize our climate pledges. But in democratic countries such as ours, we can hold their feet to the fire. Join an organization doing good work. Together we can demand that our leaders keep the promises they make at this and future COPs.
The writer is a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
US needs to step up on policy in order to lead by example
As someone who followed the COP26 climate talks, I have to agree with scientists who said that each passing day it felt as though policy makers were ignoring scientific facts in order to put on a show of “good compromise.” I was warned that this would be the case in the recent newsletter from climate scientists James Hansen and Makiko Sato, which said, “Prior COPs have been characterized by self-delusion so blatant that one of us (Hansen) describes the backslapping congratulations at the end of the COPs as a fraud.”
Considering what a good opportunity was wasted in Glasgow to actually get the global community to agree to effective solutions, we as Americans have to use this opportunity to pass climate policy on the national level that will lead by example.
Our best bet would be to include some form of a carbon price in the Build Back Better Act. It is the best example of climate policy that would actually gradually phase out the use of carbon — an action we need to take, and one that policy makers at COP26 didn’t have the courage to fight for. Citizens should call their elected officials to urge them to support this policy.