Statement on the COP26 Climate Summit


With the recent COP26 UN Climate Summit, our so-called world leaders have once again betrayed us and left us all to burn in fires and drown in floods. In the face of climate catastrophe caused mainly by the historic emissions of climate criminals like the US, UK, and others in the Global North, COP26 actively chose profit and the preservation of the status quo versus the planet and lives of people today.

COP26 was a conference of exclusion. Those from the Global South, especially members of civil society and people’s organizations, faced visa and vaccination issues, outrageous accommodation expenses, and so much more just to bring themselves to the summit in Glasgow — all symptoms of the rotting colonialist, imperialist system that we live in. In the actual conference, negotiations were still a world away for the vast majority of participants as entrance into the meetings was severely limited. Who was welcomed though? The fossil fuel industry representatives and billionaires milking super-profits from the destruction of our climate. The very people that have led us to our destruction were accorded space in the summit to lecture us on how to save the world.

The Philippines’ official delegation continued this atmosphere of exclusion, having zero youth or civil society representation in its 19 members. Delegation head and finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in a speech, talked of “climate justice” and “climate projects on the ground” but refused to elaborate on what those are; in our era of climate crisis, we cannot settle for vague, empty promises. We also cannot talk of climate justice if we refuse to call out the global imperialist system in which countries like ours have to beg for the reparations that the Global North owes to us.

After two weeks of negotiations, the COP26 produced a document — the Glasgow Climate Pact — and claimed that this agreement keeps the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement alive. Yet during the whole process, Global North countries have pushed for confusing language when talking about fossil fuels, completely ignored oil and gas, and pointed fingers at the Global South about phasing out of coal when these colonizers also watered down the concepts around climate finance and reparations. The entire world needs to phase out all fossil fuels immediately, but the Global South cannot be fully expected to do this at the rate that we need it without reparations from the Global North — in the form of finance as grants, and technology transfer. The Global North, not only completely ignored their historical responsibility in terms of emissions, but also their historical accountability for the historical and ongoing over-exploitation of the lands and people of the Global South. All this to ensure that the fossil-powered status quo does not change anytime soon.

World leaders have readily admitted that compromise was necessary to achieve agreement — but if compromise means condemning billions of people to untold suffering today and tomorrow in a 2.7°C warmer world, then we cannot settle for compromises. We refuse to compromise on our lives.
COP26 has made it clear that the ruling class in power will fight tooth and nail to maintain business as usual and protect their profit. Even after this summit we must keep pushing so-called leaders towards drastic emission cuts to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius, annual carbon budgets, reparations from the Global North to the Global South to mitigate, adapt, and minimize loss and damages, and to have the structures in place to facilitate finance and technology transfer from the North to the South. All these are just the tiny steps that we have to take in order to be a step closer to climate justice.

Let this summit be a reminder to us once again that the imperialist system that we have that has led us to the climate crisis cannot bring us out of it. In order to truly achieve climate justice, we must uproot the system and this will only be done through the people coming together, uniting, and fighting for a better world together.


Published by yacaphilippines

Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines is an alliance of individuals, youth organizations, and student councils that advocate for immediate youth-led global climate action. The Fridays for Future of the Philippines.

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