November 27, 2021

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How Wealth Inequality Fuels the Climate Emergency: George Monbiot, Scientist Kevin Anderson on COP26

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The United States and China made a surprise announcement on Wednesday at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow on a joint pledge to reduce methane emissions and slow deforestation. The United States is the largest historical emitter of carbon emissions, while China has been the largest emitter in recent years. As negotiations continue, we speak with British journalist George Monbiot and British climate scientist Kevin Anderson about how world leaders and even some climate scientists are downplaying the climate emergency. “Everything we’ve been hearing here and at the previous 25 summits is basically distraction,” says Monbiot, adding that global leaders could “fix” the worst impacts of the climate crisis “in no time at all if they wanted to.” Both guests highlight the role of extreme wealth in fueling the climate crisis, with Anderson noting it’s unfair to penalize nations like China, whose rising emissions correlate to the production of goods transported to wealthier countries. “Equity has to be a key part of our responses,” says Anderson.

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