There’s no doubt: 2021 is a big year in the fight against climate change. The UK is hosting major international climate negotiations, and it’s an opportunity to steer the world away from a dangerous future.
This should be a moment to take the lead. But right now the government’s half-hearted carbon-cutting efforts aren’t setting a good example. Greenpeace is campaigning to make the government do better, and we’ve all got a part to play. But these issues can be confusing.
It’s not always obvious who’s responsible for making change, or what the UK’s fair share should be. People might wonder whether governments can really tackle climate change in the midst of a pandemic, or whether politicians will listen.
So we put a few of the most common questions to our campaign team. Here’s what they said.
It often feels like these global summits don’t achieve much. Will this one be any different?
Global summits can often feel like a let-down. But while they’re not a silver bullet solution to our problems, history is full of examples of where they’ve changed the world for the better, often influenced by Greenpeace campaigns!
At this year’s COP26 summit hosted by the UK, countries will bring forward proper emission cutting targets for the first time. They’ll also have to show plans for how they’ll meet previously agreed goals. So this year’s meeting is all about action, not just warm words.
These summits are a rare opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the climate crisis. They give the platform to people that are facing the worst effects of climate change, but did almost nothing to cause it.
There’s no guarantee of success, but that’s true of most things that are worth doing. However things turn out, we need to be able to look back on this period in history and know we did everything we could.
I worry that the government needs to focus on other things right now.
Tackling Covid and fixing the economy are rightly a priority for the government at the moment. But they’ve worked on plenty of other issues through the pandemic, so there’s no reason to think they can’t stay on top of the climate crisis as well. The government has told the UK public that the climate is their key priority – and have made a lot of promises. Even with everything else that’s going on, voters shouldn’t be shy about holding them to those promises.