More than 900,000 people signed a viral open letter from climate activists Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, Dominika Lasota, and Mitzi Tan demanding leaders 'face up to climate emergency' at the launch of the leaders' summit of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
COP26 is running from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, where around 120 leaders and around 25,000 delegates are expected to attend.
'Right now world leaders are meeting for historic climate talks but pledges without real action will not cut it anymore. We are catastrophically far from the crucial goal of 1.5°C and yet governments everywhere are still accelerating the crisis, spending billions on fossil fuels,' Thunberg said in the letter.
'We urge you to face up to the climate emergency and keep the precious goal of 1.5°C alive with immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions, unlike anything the world has ever seen. There is still time to avoid the worst consequences if we are prepared to change,' she said.
The open letter, launched with the global citizens' movement, Avaaz, called on world leaders to lay out a five-point plan to deliver a climate-safe future.
The five points include keeping the goal of limiting global warming 1.5°C warming alive with immediate and drastic annual emission reductions as well as ending all fossil fuel investments, subsidies and new projects.
The activist demanded that world leaders end 'creative' carbon accounting by publishing total emissions for all consumption indices and delivering the $100 billion promised to the most vulnerable countries with additional funds for climate disasters.
In 2009, developed countries committed to a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation.
However, developed countries have been lagging behind in delivering this goal.
Last week ahead of COP26, the UK COP26 Presidency published a Climate Finance Delivery Plan to provide clarity on when and how developed countries will meet the $100 billion climate finance goal.
The plan showed that developed countries missed reaching the $100 billion goal but will be able to do so only by 2023.
The letter also said that young people feel betrayed by the failure of governments to cut carbon emissions.
'This is not a drill. It is code red for the Earth. Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated, a terrifying future that will be created or avoided by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide,' it said in the letter.
Nakate raised the question of why is it so easy for leaders to open new coal power plants, build pipelines and frack gas while destroying the planet and harming the present and future of children worldwide.
'Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge that people have lost lives and livelihoods? It is time to take care of the most vulnerable!' she urged.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya and Gulsen Cagatay in Glasgow, Scotland