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World leaders should be in the dock over climate catastrophe

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Activist group says the system is to blame - and the media is complicit

The Cop26 summit is bound to fail – and world leaders should be charged with crimes against humanity.

That’s how Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists see the massive, UN climate crisis event, which has started in Glasgow.

They are planning two weeks of protest in the city and worldwide to coincide with Cop26, and say their actions at Cop will charge the world’s most powerful governments with crimes against humanity.

The UN Cop process is, they say, “systematically corrupted by vested interests – national, corporate and financial”.

Cop’s primary goal is to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels - anything less could se large parts of the planet become uninhabitable and would provoke a series of humanitarian crises and population displacements.

However, XR activists – known for their direct action approach to protest – say that the actions of world leaders mean that this will not be achieved, leaving the event “all but bound to fail”.

They say that just the actions of the UK government alone point to this – it issued 113 new 27-30 year licenses for oil and gas exploration in 2020, and has refused to rule out future licenses of this kind.

Boris Johnson’s government gave the greenlight to a new coal mine in Cumbria in January this year, and scrapped and withdrew remaining funds (over £1 billion) from the flagship Green Homes Grant home insulation programme, after promising to “build back better” after the pandemic.

In the chancellor’s budget last week, Rishi Sunak slashed air passenger duty on flights by half, in a bid to increase domestic flying. 

XR activist Jon Fuller said the media should also be held accountable if they don’t hold the powerful to account.

He said: “For a quarter of a century these meetings have concluded with the media saying ‘progress has been made, campaigners say not enough.’ That cannot happen at Cop26. The media has a duty to do its job. It must form an analysis of the situation, delving beyond presenting the views of different parties to the reality of what has been achieved and what the consequences are for ordinary people.

“If it fails to do so it continues to be guilty of the same crimes against humanity as the world leaders who have gathered at 25 previous Cops, claiming progress in spite of a complete failure to stop emissions rising.”

Find out about XR's Cop plans here.

Read TFN's daily Cop26 roundup here.



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