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People under 60 likely to face ‘less liveable’ world, Mary Robinson says

She said millions of people will be forced to leave their homes because of climate change.

Former Irish president Mary Robinson criticised the structure of the climate summit
Former Irish president Mary Robinson criticised the structure of the climate summit
Image: PA Images

Updated Nov 15th 2021, 10:21 AM

FORMER PRESIDENT MARY Robinson has said people under the age of 60 are likely to face a world that is “less liveable”, with terrible floods, fires and droughts.

Robinson said millions of people will be forced to leave their homes because of climate change.

She said that some progress was made at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow but criticised the watering down of a number of commitments, including that to “phase down” the use of fossil fuels.

Robinson said political leaders do not have a crisis mindset, and that the global agreement reached was a “shameful dereliction of duty”.

“That relates to the lack of ambition, especially of important big emitters, the G20 countries,” the former UN commissioner told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“I kept naming them, Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia. There is also a lack of ambition on the financial side of the EU and the US, blocking a proper facility for loss and damage.

“The climate action tracker announced during the COP, that having added up where we were, we were heading for a 2.4 degree world.

“That’s when I had my emotional moment because I know what that means.

“It means that anybody under 60 in our world is likely to have a world that is less liveable in, which you’re facing terrible fires, terrible floods, terrible droughts, and millions of people having to leave their homes and anybody under 30 is sure to live in that world.

“That’s what we’re talking about. The fact that we haven’t got that mindset in the leaders is the key to why we didn’t have a good COP.”

She said that the leaders of small islands returned home “in despair” over the deal reached by 197 countries.

Robinson also criticised the structure of the climate summit, saying it is based on consent.

She added however that some progress was made on areas including finance to help poorer countries adapt to the shocks of climate change.

“There were a lot of voluntary side deals, which will make a difference,” Robinson added.

“There were also agreements on oil and gas, and a number of countries, including Ireland, are going to phase out oil and gas.

“There was a reversing of deforestation which seemed more robust than the previous commitments, which was made as long ago as in New York in 2014.

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“There were a number of agreements of that kind, and you need the voices of the most vulnerable at the Cop to impress those who don’t have a mindset that is needed, a crisis mindset.

“The world is in more crisis mode and that was felt.”

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