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Mary Robinson says some world leaders failing to hit 'crisis mode' over climate change

The former president took aim at Australia, Saudi Arabia and others in an emotional interview today.

Mary Robinson gave an emotional TV interview today. File photo.
Mary Robinson gave an emotional TV interview today. File photo.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

FORMER PRESIDENT MARY Robinson has accused world leaders of falling short on climate change, saying some are not in “crisis mode”.

Robinson, who is chair of The Elders group of public figures, specifically took aim at Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, Russia and Brazil in an emotional interview today.

The ex-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was reacting to an update from the Climate Action Tracker initiative, which found that the world is heading for at least 2.4C of global warming with the climate action countries have pledged to take in the next decade.

The number is far in excess of the globally agreed goal to try to limit warming to 1.5C to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

“It’s so important. We are literally talking about having a safe future,” Robinson said in an interview on Sky News.

“You can’t negotiate with science. You can’t talk about a glass being half full. We have to get it down. We have to be on track for 1.5C.

“Leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the poorest countries, yes they are in crisis mode. But, unfortunately, I’m afraid, some of the leaders who could do most are not in crisis mode.”

Robinson said Australia was still in “fossil fuel mode” and she accused Saudi Arabia of “playing dirty games.”

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The country, which is one of the world’s largest oil producers, has been accused of trying to derail the negotiations at the climate summit.

The former president accused the kingdom of having language around “youth, human rights, gender equality and sustainability” removed from the cover agreement that negotiators at the summit are working on.

“How are they able to take the language out? Because not enough countries are in the room,” Robinson said.

“It’s my experience in previous COPs, Saudi Arabia is always there when it matters, and they kind of block things.”

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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