As COP26 approaches, the Glasgow Agreement looks to alternative processes to build climate justice

Published by Brent Patterson on

In the lead-up to the United Nations COP26 climate summit this November 1-12 in Scotland, an alternative process toward a Glasgow Agreement is taking shape.

Their website notes: “Until now the climate justice movement has had a very big focus on pressuring governments to take action on climate, or to push for stronger international agreements within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 or the Paris Agreement in 2015.”

“Meanwhile, emissions have continued to rise.”

It adds: “Hence the Glasgow Agreement proposes that civil society proposes its own plan of action, no longer waiting for governments and international institutions to do so. We aim to use a vast array of strategies and tactics, including civil disobedience, to achieve the necessary emissions cuts to prevent a 1.5ºC temperature rise by 2100.”

Some of the 160 organizations involved include: CENSAT – AguaViva (Friends of the Earth Colombia), MILPAH – Movimiento independiente indígena Lenca de la Paz (Honduras), Alianza Mexicana Contra el Fracking (Mexico), ATTAC España (Spanish State), Reclaim the Power (UK), MiningWatch (Canada), and Greenpeace International.

Climate change and Canada

The expressed concern about “no longer waiting for government” may resonate on the lands and territories of this country.

The Vancouver-based West Coast Environmental Law recently noted: “Canada has missed every single greenhouse gas emissions reduction target that is has ever set. Ever. From targets set in Kyoto in 1997, to Copenhagen in 2009 – and we are nowhere close to on track to achieve our 2030 Paris target set in 2015.”

The Toronto Star has also reported: “Canada has managed to lower emissions by just one per cent over the past 15 years.”

Worse yet, Canada anticipates producing more oil and gas in 2050 than in 2019.

Significantly, a new report by University of Waterloo researchers published by the Cascade Institute has found that Canada’s oil and gas production between 2021 and 2050 would exhaust about 16 per cent of the world’s carbon budget of 230 billion tonnes.

And despite Canada’s pledge at a G20 summit in 2009 to “phase out and rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, there is still no official list of those subsidies and Environmental Defence recently reported: “In 2020, the federal government either announced or provided a minimum of nearly $18 billion to the oil and gas sector.”

The Environmental Defence report specifies that this includes: “$13.47 billion in public financing funneled to oil and gas companies primarily through a non-transparent crown corporation, Export Development Canada.”

Environmental Defence, Oil Change International and Above Ground have called on the Government of Canada to ensure that: “Corporations with a record of human rights violations, including violations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, should be denied support.”

Despite this, on April 28, 2020, EDC signed an agreement to lend up to $500 million to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory.

This also happened even though the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada on December 13, 2019 “to immediately halt the construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people.”

PBI-Canada will continue to follow the Glasgow Agreement process with interest.

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