Friends of the Earth Malta at COP26

Friends of the Earth Malta at COP26

Together with activists and organisations from all over the world, Friends of the Earth Malta was in Glasgow to support the movement towards a socially just and environmentally sound future.

During various activities such as protests, workshops and assemblies we emphasised our vision and demanded that:

  1. Malta and the EU must do their fair share by transforming its economy and becoming a fossil free continent – no loopholes and no false solutions.
  2. Europe is largely responsible for causing climate change, and must do its fair share to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees – its current plans are not in line with climate justice. Pushed by the fossil fuel industry – the EU, national governments and banks are still investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure, especially gas, locking us into a fossil fuel future. They must stop these investments now and go fully fossil free by 2030.
  3. Ensure that decision-making is conducted entirely in the interest of people and planet, we must cut fossil fuel interests out of our politics, similar to existing restrictions on the tobacco industry.
  4.  In order to achieve an energy transformation, Europe’s wasteful energy demand must be drastically reduced, by moving towards sufficiency and investing in mass home renovations and energy savings, helping to urgently tackle energy poverty.
  5. The urgently needed transition must be just for workers, with the focus on decent quality jobs, protection of workers’ livelihoods and ensuring that no one is left behind.
  6. Europe’s response to the climate emergency must not further negatively impact countries outside Europe, which are already disproportionately affected. Europe’s ’fair share’ – both of resources and action – must not be conditional on, or watered-down by, the inaction of others.

Beyond the climate crisis, the planet is facing multiple, inter-related social, political and economic crises, at the base of which sits an unsustainable unjust economic system, the sole goal of which is endless growth and ongoing profit for a few. Only with intersectional system change, a SYSTEM:RESET – a radical transformation of our current systems – can we truly fight the climate crisis, global average temperature rises exceeding 1.5 degrees and thus, achieve climate justice.

This change must be holistic and inclusive. Climate justice requires:

  • Environmental justice
  • Human rights justice
  • Social Justice
  • Health justice
  • Economic justice
  • Accessibility justice

Next to several small protests and actions that took place during the two-week conference, two large marches were organised by the activist movement to communicate the message of our shared vision, represent the needs of the underrepresented and offer solutions to the leaders and decision-makers at COP26. On both days, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Glasgow to demand fast and fair climate action. More than 200 cities globally joined. Together with other members of the (Young) Friends of the Earth network, we amplified voices, needs, and visions of underrepresented communities, as well as groups, which were excluded from entering the UK.

On November 7 to 10 Friends of the Earth groups supported the People’s Summit for Climate Justice, a global convergence space for movements, campaigns and civil society – from indigenous struggles to trade unions, from racial justice groups to youth strikers. Participants from different NGOs, movements, trade unions and communities organized speeches, discussions and workshops to deal with social and environmental issues as well as work on collective solutions for a system change. As part of the People’s Summit, Friends of the Earth Malta together with Young Friends of the Earth Europe initiated an interactive session on a just Green Deal for Europe as well as a workshop on Intersectionality.

COP26 was a chance to show the power of collective activism. People from all across the world came to Glasgow to stand up for shared values and a common vision. Friends of the Earth Malta and all the other NGOs involved all sent a message: We are unstoppable, another world is possible!

What is COP26 and why does it matter?

COP26 stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and is the 2021 United Nations (UN) climate change conference. The summit is attended by all the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since 1995 the UN has been bringing together heads of state, government representatives and negotiators from across the world to discuss and assess the progress of the Paris Agreement in dealing with climate change. This year from October 31 to November 12 marked the 26th COP, which took place in Glasgow, Scotland, with more than 30,000 registered participants – from government and company representatives to civil society participants, NGOs and journalists. Every day of the Conference has a different topic, and some of them are: energy, finances, youth empowerment, adaptation, gender….1

COP26’s summit marks the end of the first five-year cycle since the 2015 Paris Agreement with countries compelled to revise and enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to pursue efforts to limit the increase in global average temperature and pursue the agreed target of 1.5 degrees. Therefore, COP26 is seen as a crucial summit to address the progress since the Paris Agreement, and to concretise plans to reach the agreement’s targets.

The content of the COP26 conference is divided into a blue and a green zone. Negotiations are taking place within the blue zone, in which government representatives participate, but there are also observers (non-governmental organizations, journalists …) who do not have an official role in the negotiations, but help maintain transparency. The blue zone is managed by the UN, and all those present must have a special accreditation, the so-called blue badge. The green zone is open to the public and includes workshops, exhibitions and various forms of education, and is managed by the United Kingdom. Find out more about COP26 here

Written by Marika Schoenherr