Green Talking Heads

COP26 in Glasgow: A Green perspective
#05

Oras Tynkkynen

European Green Party Committee Member

Terhi Lehtonen

State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment

05November
2021
Back to home

COP26 in Glasgow: A Green perspective

Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with European Green Party Committee Member Oras Tynkkynen and Terhi Lehtonen, State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment. Recorded at COP26, they discuss the climate summit negotiations, and what actions Green leaders are taking to tackle the climate crisis.

Green leaders gathered on 31 October -12 November in Glasgow for the UNFCCC’s 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), which is the climate summit that coordinates the global response to the climate crisis.

This year’s COP was the biggest ever and addressed some of the issues left unsolved in the 2015 Paris Agreement, such as the global carbon market.

Some of the most debated issues included international climate finance, increasing the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and phasing out fossil fuels.

For the first time, over 100 Greens including young climate activists and members of the Global South were part of the observer delegations, and 7 Green climate ministers were part of the negotiations.

The Green Hub in Glasgow

We hosted the Green Hub in Glasgow with the Green European Foundation (GEF) and the Scottish Green Party, welcoming over 1000 people from over 40 different countries to our events. Through the Hub, we facilitated cross-border cooperation and exchanges in the ecosystem of Greens – from the Scottish Greens, to the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG), the Global Young Greens (GYG), the Global Greens, and the Green European Foundation (GEF)!

Bringing together civil society and decision makers was more important than ever during what has been termed the ‘most exclusionary’ COP. Youth activists and actors from the Global South, as well as civil society observers were given only limited access to negotiations.

It was also noted by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) that more than 500 delegates in the negotiations were linked to the fossil fuel industry – a bigger delegation than that of any other country.

At the Green Hub, diverse actors such as activists, academics and politicians came together to discuss vital issues like reshaping our global economies, food sovereignty, recognising ecocide, climate justice, and making the polluters pay. Green local leaders also unveiled ambitious climate policies and plans as well as shared tried and tested solutions that were successful in their own towns and cities.

Marching for climate action!

Green leaders and activists took part in climate marches organized by Fridays For Future (FFF) and the COP26 Coalition on the Global Day of Action for Climate. They included Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion; Patrick Harvey, Minister for Active Mobility and Zero Carbon buildings; Mar García, Secretary-General of the European Greens; Thomas Waitz, Green MEP and Co-Chair of the European Greens; and Committee Member Oras Tynkkynen as well as our young Greens, staff and members. On Friday, Tynkkynen pushed for more urgency and ambition:

“We are moving in the right direction, but the thing is, we are running out of time, and we cannot just wait for 2050 or 2030. We need to cut emissions today as we speak.”

Co-Chairs Thomas Waitz and Evelyne Huytebroeck also met with climate activists Elizabeth Wathuti (Kenya), Lola Segers (Belgium), Dylan Hamilton (Scotland) and Janmejai Tiwari (India), as well as with indigenous leaders from Anmiga to hear their concerns and collaborate on climate justice. Thomas Waitz urged activists to keep up the pressure. He voiced how climate activists continue to push the European Union to act on climate:

“The biggest political force in Europe has been the climate movement, because it brought climate into the political debate.”

What’s in the Glasgow Climate Pact?

The commitments and initiatives announced in Glasgow would, if fully implemented, allow the world to limit global heating to below two degrees. This is a significant drop from 3-4°C but does not limit heating to 1.5°C as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Here are some of the pledges announced during this climate summit:

  • More than 130 countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Brazil, have pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030
  • The global methane pledge, signed by more than 100 countries, aims to curb methane emissions by 30% by 2030
  • India’s Prime Minister Modi announced that India would aim for net-zero emissions by 2070
  • More than 40 countries have committed to phasing out coal power: wealthy nations in the 2030s, and 2040s globally
  • Scotland doubled its modest yet first-of-a-kind funding proposal for loss and damage from £1 to £2 million

The answer to all these questions lies in the long-standing unhealthy relationship that governments have with the pharmaceutical industry.

This year, there has been more focus on adaptation and finance, with countries committing to at least doubling adaptation finance by 2025. The $100b pledge made at COP21 by high-income countries in Copenhagen to support low-income countries has still not been met. The latest text urges countries to meet this goal and “re-emphasizes the need for scaled up financial resources to take into account the needs of those countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.” Low-income countries, and in particular small island states, have also called for more loss and damage finance.

Caroline Lucas emphasised the need for equity and the vital role of the Greens in achieving it:

“We know that $100b still hasn’t been forthcoming, and loss and damage hasn’t been front and centre as it should be. (…) The voices of the Global South and the debate about reparations need to be heard loud and clear, and that is not happening unless Greens and activists are putting that on the agenda.”

In terms of NDCs, the national plans including targets on emissions cuts, countries will now report yearly on their progress, rather than every 5 years. Countries have therefore been asked to “revisit and strengthen” 2030 climate plans next year in an attempt at accelerating climate action.

For the first time ever, fossil fuels feature in the agreement. The scope, however, is limited to ‘unabated coal’ and ‘inefficient fossil fuel subsidies’ rather than calling for a phase out with a concrete timeline. In response, many have joined the Beyond Oil & Coal Alliance; a new alliance that commits to phasing out oil and gas production. This includes Ireland and Sweden, where Greens are in government.

From the European to the local level, Green leaders are fighting to keep the 1.5°C goal alive

COP26 enables multilateralism and creates an important space for dialogue. It crucially puts together global agreements through which we can hold governments accountable and build global consensus. But as Greens we know that we are still far from closing the 2030 emissions gap and that it is not enough. We have yet to see concrete pathways for announced pledges. That’s why we will keep up the pressure for the implementation of these commitments in the next months and years.

In the words of Martin Ogindo, Party Leader, Green Congress of Kenya (GCK):

“We are a community of Greens who are holding the biggest responsibility on this planet because we are the custodians of the sustainability of this planet. It is a huge task for us. But I want to encourage you – each action counts. My best moment was joining the march and realising how loud our combined voices can be, and how concise our demands can be.”

As Greens, we may not have the majority, but we fight for climate ambition wherever we lead – whether at the city, regional or governmental level. We know that tackling the climate crisis requires daily efforts, and that every fraction of a degree of warming counts. Lorna Slater, Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, emphasised the power of local leaders in the climate fight:

“We don’t have to wait for Boris Johnson or Joe Biden to get together – all the cities, the American states, all the other non-state actors, we can leap ahead. They don’t have to be the limit of our ambition.”

Evelyne Huytebroeck, Co-Chair of the European Greens, also stated:

“On the local level, both big cities and rural municipalities, and the regional level have a role to play in the daily fight to address climate change. Ambitious policies are already put in place in some of them, especially ones ruled by the Greens. Green local decision-makers have shown their added-value by implemented policies in mobility, housing, energy, urban planning, waste and water management, agriculture, and education. These successes need to be shared and replicated as much as possible around the globe.”

We are also taking climate action back to the EU, where Green MEPs are pushing for a more sustainable and fair Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), working on adapting the EU Taxonomy (the rules for defining sustainable activities) to exclude gas and nuclear, and concretely advancing deforestation and nature files so that we can protect biodiversity.

Green leaders will continue the work outside of COP26 to end the fossil fuel era and make sure that we have a just transition to a fair and green future!

Pride is protest! Solidarity with the LGBTI community of the BalkansLGBTQI+
#17

Sibylle Steffan

EGP Committee Member

Natalija Simović

Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own

10October
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sibylle Steffan, EGP Committee Member is in conversation with Natalija Simovic, Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own. They discuss the situation of the LGBTI community across Europe and the Serbian Greens' fight for same sex marriage legislation.

Tackling the ‘shadow pandemic’ of Gender Based Violence in EuropeHealth Polices
#16

Terry Reintke

Green Member of the European Parliament

13July
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Terry Reintke. They discuss the Gender Based Violence Directive proposed by the European Commission, and how the Greens are fighting against the backlash on women's rights and gender equality in recent years.

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.2Health Polices
#15

Urszula Sara Zielińska

member of the Polish Parliament, co-chair of Partia Zieloni

Rui Tavares

Portuguese National MP, city councillor in Lisbon and Co-Spokesperson of LIVRE

23June
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary-General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key leaders advancing Green policies in Europe. Urszula Zielińska, Co-Chair of Partia Zieloni and Member of Parliament at the Polish Parliament, speaks about the threat to rule of law in Poland and the EU's role in helping to tackle it. Rui Tavares, Member of Parliament at the Portuguese Parliament, speaks on how to bridge urgent priorities with social and ecological priorities.

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.1Health Polices
#14

Ricarda Lang

Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag

Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Dritan Abazović

Prime Minister of Montenegro

15June
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key Green politicians from all over Europe who hold different responsibilities at different levels. In the first part of the episode, Mar exchanges with Ricarda Lang, Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag about how to turn a political vision into governing action; with Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries about how to implement an ambitious European Green Deal; and with Dritan Abazović, Prime Minister of Montenegro about how to build on more democratic values after decades of corruption. During these three conversations, Mar Garcia enquires about the challenges they face but also about the successes they achieved.

Green Local Councillors in ValenciaHealth Polices
#13

Sergi Campillo

City of Valencia

Claire Roumet

Director of Energy Cities

Eloi Badia

City of Barcelona

20May
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mélanie Vogel, Green Senator of France, is in conversation with Claire Roumet, Director of Energy Cities, Eloi Badia Casas, Councillor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the City Council and Vice President of Ecology of Barcelona, and Sergi Campillo, the Deputy Mayor of Valencia and General Coordinator of the Area of Urban Ecology. They discuss the energy crisis and why now is the best time to accelerate the energy transition to secure a more resilient and peaceful future.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 2Health Polices
#12

Jan Penfrat

EDRi Senior Policy Advisor

02May
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Senior Policy Advisor at European Digital Rights (EDRi) Jan Penfrat explains how the DSA helps to shift the online ecosystem away from ad-driven centralized mega platforms, and towards a more decentralized version of the internet.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 1Health Polices
#11

Alexandra Geese

Member of the European Parliament

29March
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Alexandra Geese. They discuss the Digital Services Act (DSA), and how this new piece of EU legislation will regulate our digital platforms and enhance our democracies in the process.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 2Health Polices
#10

James Farrar

Digital Workers’ rights activist

14February
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Digital Worker Rights Activist James Farrar. They discuss his thoughts on data driven exploitation in the gig economy as a former Uber driver turned activist, and how gig companies are using ‘hidden algorithmic control’ to exert more power over workers.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 1Health Polices
#09

Kim van Sparrentak

Green Member of the European Parliament

04February
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak. They discuss platform workers and the European Commission’s new legislative proposal to improve their working conditions.

Healthcare as a common goodHealth Polices
#08

Petra de Sutter

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Former Green MEP

10January
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with the Deputy Prime minister of Belgium Petra de Sutter, former Green MEP who is also a health professional, and a person of reference on health issues within the Green family. They assess how the European Union and national governments have managed the pandemic thus far and discuss the key role of accessible vaccines to ensure a pandemic recovery for all.

How the EU can improve its fight against child labourHealth Polices
#07

Saskia Bricmont

MEP for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament and Member of Ecolo

16December
2021
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of Ecolo Saskia Bricmont. They discuss the pressing issue of child labour and the European Union’s concerning footprint of child labour imports, as well as what can be done to lower it without pushing children into more dangerous activities.

How the EU can improve its fight against forced labourHealth Polices
#06

Anna Cavazzini

MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and Member of the German Greens

15December
2021
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Anna Cavazzini. They discuss forced labour and what the European Union can do to tackle this critical issue, whilst also protecting the vulnerable people who suffer from it.

Transparency and accountability of pharmaceutical industryHealth Polices
#04

Yannis Natsis

Expert on access and affordable medicines

28October
2021
Read more

EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Yannis Natsis, Policy Manager for the European Health Alliance. They discuss the unequal distribution of vaccines and how pharmaceutical companies thrive in secrecy, taking advantage of secret deals signed with EU member states.

Climate Activists towards COP26Health Polices
#03

Climate activists at the European Ideas Lab

Esmeralda Sofía Caro, Dhreen Baloch, Walter Ruggeri, Narmine Abou Bakari, Lena Hartog

15October
2021
Read more

Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnson is in conversation with MAPA activists Esmeralda Sofía Caro Pieri and Dhreen Baloch, Digital Rights Campaigner Narmine Abou Bakari, and Co-Founder of the Slow Fashion Movement Lena Hartog. As COP26 approaches fast, they discuss the impact of the climate crisis on frontline communities, the throwaway culture surrounding our digital devices, and how to address pollution and overconsumption in the fashion industry.

Equitable access to medicinesHealth Polices
#02

Gaëlle Krikorian

Researcher and Activist on Public Health Issues

09October
2021
Read more

EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Gaëlle Krikorian, a researcher and activist on public health. They discuss the fault lines of our healthcare system, and the role of patents play in the issue of unequal access to pharmaceutical goods and treatment.

Fit for ClimateFit for 2030
#01

Bas Eickhout

Member of the European Parliament - Greens/EFA

08October
2021
Read more

Climate campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with Bas Eickhout, a member GroenLinks and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, to discuss the latest battleground in the fight against the climate crisis: the Fit-for-2030 file.