The Elders Urge World Leaders to Do More to Avoid Climate Disaster
18 Dec 2021
The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights, recently expressed their deep disappointment that world leaders have not yet had the courage to head off the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The group published their feelings in a post on their website following the conclusion of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
Members of The Elders include APB speakers Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and chair of The Elders; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate; and Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile.
In the article, the group called for urgent climate action. They asked the UN Secretary-General to take a direct lead in maintaining relentless pressure on the worst-performing states, until they do their part to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. “Such leadership should draw on this admirable new initiative to scrutinize net-zero commitments made by businesses,” they said.
The Elders specifically called out those who obstructed the negotiations in Glasgow, and the leaders who continue to downplay the climate emergency, as well as the world’s two biggest carbon emitters—the United States and China.
“COP26 has made some progress, but nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster,” said Robinson. “While millions around the world are already in crisis, not enough leaders were in crisis mode. People will see this as a historically shameful dereliction of duty. Leaders have extended by a year this window of opportunity to avert the worst of the climate crisis. The world urgently needs them to step up more decisively next year."
Other members of The Elders include Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and Deputy Chair of The Elders; Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust, Co-founder and Deputy Chair of The Elders; Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Co-chair of the Taskforce on Justice; Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Laureate; and Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico