Petition for the Leaders’ Summit on Climate
To our world leaders today,
End The Bullshit: Petition for the Leaders’ Summit on Climate
On April 22nd and 23rd, US President Joe Biden invited 40 heads of state to the Leaders Summit on Climate, but what have you so-called leaders done? Definitely not enough. It’s mostly the same “leaders” that have been spewing out empty promises. You always have “ambitious” themes for your summits, but we’re sick of your rehearsed speeches and empty promises. We need real action. End the bullshit.
We are running out of time, yet all you’re doing is holding summits to feel important and congratulate yourselves. For what? For all your far-off net zero targets or your new “amazing plans” for your near-term targets that are still heavily insufficient and full of loopholes. But just like in the children’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” you are all just fooling yourselves and each other with your “magnificent clothes.” The worst part of it all, is you are bringing your countries and your people down with you.
Climate change is a global issue that affects different regions disproportionately. MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas) communities are the least responsible for the climate emergency, but are the ones who already suffer the most from its consequences. Meanwhile, Global North governments and companies wantonly emit greenhouse gases with no sufficient and concrete action steps and plans; big polluters like the US, China, and EU have emitted 177.76 GtCO2 in the past five years, which represents over half of the global CO2 emissions in the same time period.
Do you know the face of the climate crisis that stares at those most affected every day? Do you know the face of the menace you keep feeding? Across the globe, communities are facing extreme droughts, torrential rainfall, sea-level rise, and rising temperatures, placing people and the planet at risk. In Africa, the spread of diseases and agricultural pests has been exacerbated by climate change. Latin America has seen massive destruction in the burning of rainforests like the Amazon, with flames killing off biodiversity and having huge impacts not just on the region but on the entire world. Asia faces increasingly lethal heat waves and droughts threatening water supply, with soaring numbers of internal displacement due to extreme weather events. In Oceania, people have evacuated their homes as entire islands are being swallowed by the sea.
This is the ugly reality of the climate emergency. With our global temperature increase from pre-industrial times currently at 1.2 degrees celsius and rising, the impacts are getting stronger and are affecting the most vulnerable areas and people the worst. All of this devastation and suffering has happened within the last decade; if nothing changes, we can only expect things to get worse.
If you, world leaders from the “developed” Global North, actually cared about the people, surely you would already be doing something. But it isn’t like that; it has never been like that. For centuries, you have invaded the lands of those most affected, exploited their natural resources and people, and used these countries as landfills for your waste. Today, these communities are the most vulnerable because they have been colonized, oppressed, silenced, and treated as means for your profit. You have a historical debt to the most affected people and areas and we, the people, are coming to collect our dues.
You say you will be net zero by 2030, 2040, 2050… but that is not enough at all if your targets are full of gaps and loopholes. You are only counting the emissions you want, those that are easier to cut and that do not jeopardize your interests — omitting emissions from imports, international aviation, shipping, biomass burning, and military complexes. You can refine your emissions inventories as you please, but your greenhouse gases are still in the atmosphere and the people continue to be impacted. You will claim to be ambitious and magnificent, but we know that in reality the emperor has no clothes.
Leaders from the Global North call themselves leaders in sustainability. But tell us, how will you build your solar panels, your wind turbines, your electric cars and trains? Under the current world order, so much of your wealth in the North has been built off of the systematic plunder of natural resources and human labor from the Global South. If your “green recovery” in the Global North means more resource extraction, more destruction, more exploitation, and more oppression for MAPA, do not even think of calling yourselves sustainable leaders. The road to your green future cannot be paved by the perpetuation of reckless policies and habits that value profit over people.
Having committed climate policies that center the needs and demands of MAPA should be a priority, but this is not happening. We see it through all the dirty investments in fossil fuel subsidies, the relentless extraction of natural resources in MAPA, the unjust and harmful trade agreements… the list goes on. If things are kept this way, by the time you develop your greener societies, MAPA will be living an unprecedented catastrophe. But don’t be fooled, sooner or later, it will be a catastrophe for you too.
It is also reprehensible that only 40 leaders were invited to the summit. You cannot say you’re aiming towards a better world if you’re handpicking the countries that get to discuss their future — or, for many of the excluded, their survival. Further, the lack of representation from civil society and the youth is deplorable, and it says a lot about how world “leaders” choose to deal with the crisis we are confronted with.
However, even if you don’t want us there, even if you decide to blind yourselves with greed instead of addressing the real big elephants in the room, you won’t get away with it.
We refuse to compromise on our lives. We will not give up on fighting for a better future. The youth, alongside our environmental defenders and science, are here to call you out! We are uniting as one voice and saying the emperor has no clothes! Do not be like the emperor in the story where you continue to walk with pride even after you’ve been called out. Your empty promises are destroying us. The decisions needed to achieve climate justice will be made not because of the long-winded conversations of you “leaders,” but because of the people uniting together in every way we can, on the streets and online -- so world leaders, brace yourselves because we will not back down. #NoMoreEmptyPromises #NoMoreEmptySummits
To our world leaders today,
From: [Your Name]
We therefore demand the following:
Ending fossil fuel investments and subsidies immediately
Stop the plunder of our environment, especially in MAPA
Establish annual, binding carbon budgets that factor in justice and equity, concrete plans, roadmaps, and milestones to get to actual net zero.