The Charge against COP26

This is the story leading up to COP26. It is a tale of deceit, greed, stupidity, injustice, failure and cruelty by world governments and their corporate partners. The first COP meeting was in 1995. Since then, there have been 25 meetings. After nearly 40 years of warnings and 30 years of international climate negotiations, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by over 50% since 1990.

On the road to COP26, Extinction Rebellion has been rebelling and protesting for most of the year. While we have rebelled, this summer has seen the IPCC’s frightening ‘code red for humanity’ report, another catastrophic wildfire season, floods from Germany to Cameroon, and apocalyptic droughts affecting millions in Syria, Argentina, and the world at large. The rapidity with which our life-support systems are buckling has shocked even seasoned climate scientists.

We’ve rattled them, out-argued them and exposed their empty climate rhetoric. After a year of astonishing and creative protest, we arrive at COP26.

The Charge

The ever-worsening Climate and Ecological Emergency is a Crime Against Humanity perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and vulnerable.

We charge the world’s most powerful governments with mass manslaughter by gross negligence.

Find out more about The Charge.

The evidence

Their duty is to protect us. The evidence confirms otherwise. Pick your theme, if you can’t come to Glasgow, the COP26 Rebellion still needs you. Go local and go digital. Let your action show the evidence of the world governments’ negligence and crimes against humanity.

The Charge in full

The ever-worsening Climate and Ecological Emergency is a Crime Against Humanity perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and vulnerable.

Our actions must charge the world’s most powerful governments with mass manslaughter by gross negligence. The COP process is systematically corrupted by vested interrests. It only serves injustice and failure.

COP26 is the next chapter in a story of broken promises, reckless greed and unbelievable failure that stretches all the way back to COP1. 25 meetings have failed to prevent us heading for catastrophe as emissions continue to rise.

In fact they are rising so much that it’s predicted that instead of 1.5°C we are on a path to 3.2°C increase this century. The world is going to become a terrifying, dangerous place if we reach 3.2°C. It’s now apparent that even the current 1.1C of global heating is not a “safe” level.  Meanwhile, promises to help the Global South as they bear the brunt of this, have been broken as the Global North continues to enjoy its carbon-affluent lifestyle based on a system of greed and exploitation.

We are facing a catastrophic Climate and Ecological Emergency that could have been avoided if governments acted sooner. Doctors and social workers would be immediately struck-off if they failed in their duty of care as much as governments have done for their citizens.

Yest still the main players at COP26, both government and business leaders, will be there to ensure there are no disruptions to the status quo. They will present false accounting, greenwashed credentials and fake climate policies. They don’t want to change a system that benefits the few. Not even if earth defenders are being killed, nature and wildlife are being destroyed, entire communities and ecosystem services are being sacrificed.

Our politicians are fatally compromised. Despite their claims of climate leadership, the reality is that most countries have failed to implement policies consistent with 1.5 degrees. Some of the worst polluters have failed to submit plans for emissions cuts before COP26, including China, India and Brazil. The richest countries have spent $40BILLION more on fossil fuels than clean energy since the pandemic. 

This is the opposite of ‘building back better’. This is immoral, greedy failure and it’s killing us.

Net zero by 2050

Governments are peddling snake oil solutions. Net zero by 2050 is a con. It’s climate irresponsibility on steroids, a blind gamble with our future as the stakes and a veil for deadly inaction. It’s being used by polluting governments and corporations to evade responsibility, shift burdens, disguise climate inaction, and in some cases even to scale up fossil fuel extraction and emissions. You know how terrible an idea it is when it’s supported by fossil fuel executives and Rupert Murdoch.

Net zero by 2050 relies on tree plantations and unproven and unrealistic technologies being able to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air in the future. The only safe and just option is to reduce emissions at the source. Most fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground for a chance of keeping global heating below 1.5C. In May, an IEA report concluded that there could be no new oil, gas or coal development if the world was to reach net zero by 2050.

The UK government is establishing a smoke and mirrors narrative for ‘success’ in Glasgow, based purely on the number of governments that make rhetorical pledges to be net zero by 2050.

If they were serious about 1.5 degrees, in Glasgow governments would move heaven and earth to achieve Global net zero by 2030, and crucially would financially facilitate the transition toward sustainable production in poorer countries so as not to compromise their entirely legitimate interests in lifting people out of historically engendered poverty. 

The main obstacle to such an agreement is the failure to take responsibility for the crisis by the rich world that is responsible for 92% of excess global emissions. 

The COP process designed by the UN to deliver a global agreement equal to the challenge is systematically corrupted and subverted by powerful corporate interests. These are the fossil fuel companies, the huge scale investments of financial institutions in ongoing fossil fuel use, global media conglomerates owned and funded by powerful corporations invested in the preservation of the status quo. 

Ultimate responsibility for enabling our current trajectory lies with the most powerful governments doing their bidding, but failing catastrophically in their collective duty of care to safeguard the citizens of the world.

Nothing on the table in the run up to COP26 resembles a sane, compassionate and functional response to the crisis.