November 13, 2021

People power will deliver what historic polluters are not

Glasgow, Scotland — After decades of pressure and leadership shown by civil society groups and communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and following the calls from relevant institutions like the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the IPCC, for the first time in history the need to put an end to fossil fuels is formally recognized in the climate talks.

The Glasgow Agreement “calls upon Parties” to accelerate the transition towards low-emission energy systems, including efforts to phase down coal power and “inefficient” subsidies for fossil fuels. For campaigners, it is a significant step, but not enough at all.

Six years ago, the international community committed to limit global heating to “well below 2°C” and as close to 1.5°C as possible. Since then they have been permanently reminded by the cycle of drought, fires, floods, heat waves and storms that a world at +1.2°C is already impacting the lives of hundreds of millions. Yet once again, the climate justice movement condemns historical polluters, responsible for the climate crisis, for refusing to show leadership on climate action.

Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director at

“COP26 has been deemed to be the most exclusionary COP ever, yet we made our voices heard. We, the civil society, together with our negotiators from the Pacific islands and other vulnerable States, held the line inside the negotiations. Fossil fuel lobbies, and the lack of leadership from the historic polluters, are the main reasons why we are not yet seeing the billions we need to adapt to climate change – nor funds needed to pay for what’s lost. It’s an uphill fight. It’s an uphill fight when our negotiators are outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists 12 to 1. It’s an uphill fight when the UK government makes it almost impossible and unsafe for civil society to attend the climate talks. But 1.5°C is not optional. It is an absolute necessity, and this horizon should guide every single decision made by every single international institution, country, and local authority.”

Cansin Leylim, Associate Director of Global Campaigns at

“The mention of fossil fuels in the Glasgow agreement is the outcome of decades of organizing and campaigning – despite the efforts of fossil fuel lobbies. Things are starting to move in the right direction, but we need to accelerate. In order to do so, fossil fuel lobbies have to be excluded from the UN climate talks: polluters out, people in, should be the way COPs are organized. We have to press on to dismantle all the false solutions: the buffers, the credits, the offsets, all the loopholes they have built into these decisions. We need to press on for ambition to do what climate science dictates. The challenge is now to make sure that these commitments are implemented bigger and faster. Today, as in the past decades, true leadership resides in the climate movement.”

Namrata Chowdhary, Head of Public Engagement at

“Significant announcements have been made at this COP – on coal phase out, on fossil fuel subsidies, as well as on curbing oil and gas. For the first time in 27 years of negotiations, COP’s final agreement even mentions fossil fuels. This is a tiny step – but a significant one. There is hope, and hope is in the people, in the climate movement. On Friday, people power shone at COP26: the People’s Plenary has demonstrated how lively, strong, diverse yet united the climate movement is. COP26 has failed to deliver on an ambitious agreement, but we’re convinced that we, the people, have already triggered the change that we need. COPs are only 2 out of 52 weeks in a year. The 50 remaining ones are about action. They start today. We, the climate justice movement, are committed to walk the talk. We are the only option, we are the ones keeping 1.5°c alive.”

Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director at

“COP26 confirmed the strength of civil society and the lack of political will of many of the richest countries to actually contribute to climate justice. In addition to the landmark mention to limiting fossil fuels, the climate movement managed to get demands such as Loss and Damage and financing climate adaptation in poor countries to the center of the global discussions. However, governments did not advance as they should on these aspects and even included potentially dangerous points on the carbon markets issue, which could end up aggravating the situation of Indigenous Peoples. Communities that are amongst the most affected by the climate crisis and who contributed the least to global heating will be, once again, those that will continue to push for a just transition globally.”


Media contact: Mark Raven, +447841474125, [email protected]