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Climate activists from the Greenpeace ship arrive in Glasgow, outside the Scottish Event Campus where Cop26 is being held Alamy Stock Photo
Catch Up on Cop

COP26: 'If you allow yourself to feel it, the heartbreak and the injustice is hard to bear'

Sign up to The Journal’s COP26 newsletter for daily updates and analysis from Glasgow over the next two weeks.

This is an extract from today’s edition of The Journal’s COP26 newsletter which brings you all the important updates from the major climate summit. Reporter Orla Dwyer, who is on the ground in Glasgow, will break down the latest developments each evening for the two weeks of the event. Find out more and sign up here or at the bottom of the page.

There’s a lot of politicking in the air around Glasgow today as the two-day World Leaders summit began at COP.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was the star of the show for us Irish journalists – and some UK reporters who ambled their way over to his informal press briefing earlier to ask about Brexit.

I asked the Taoiseach how much Ireland would be committing towards funding to help developing countries deal with climate change and its (many) impacts.

Developed nations pledged in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year in funding from 2020 onwards to help developing nations adapt to climate change. This hasn’t yet become a reality – it’s already been pushed back to 2023 – and it is a key sticking point at this COP summit.

Micheál Martin said Ireland will commit to more than doubling its current annual global climate financing of €93 million by 2025. This means up to €225 million per year by 2025.

The Programme for Government already committed to doubling this funding, but this is an increase of about 140%.

Martin had quite the busy day today – meeting with Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, and also speaking at a world leaders event earlier.

We’ll find out soon with the release of the revised Climate Action Plan whether Ireland’s action will be sufficiently stepped up too.

I could sit here all day telling you what heads of government said and didn’t say, but I’d like to instead share what Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti told world leaders this afternoon.

She said: “Right now, as you sit comfortably here in this conference centre in Glasgow, over two million of my fellow Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation.

“This is not only happening in Kenya… and there is more still to come. By 2025, in just four years’ time, half of the world’s population will be facing water scarcity and by the time I’m 50, the climate crisis will have displaced 86 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.

“If you allow yourself to feel it, the heartbreak and the injustice is hard to bear. Sub-Saharan Africans are responsible for just half a per cent of historical emissions. The children are responsible for none. But they are bearing the brunt.

“The decisions you make here will help determine whether the rains will return to our land. The decisions you make here will help determine whether the fruit trees we plant will live or perish.”

The COP organisers deliberately put the voices of those who will be impacted the most by the climate crisis front and centre during the summit – those who have the most to lose from any lack of action in the years ahead, and in the years before now.

Were the politicians paying attention?

Newsletter by Orla Dwyer

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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