Environmentalist Criticises Icelandic Prime Minister’s Speech at COP26 Conference Skip to content
Katrín Jakobsdóttir climate conference Glasgow COP26
Photo: Katrín Jakobsdóttir / Facebook.

Environmentalist Criticises Icelandic Prime Minister’s Speech at COP26 Conference

The Icelandic Youth Environmentalist Association’s Climate Representative Finnur Ricart told Fréttablaðið he was very disappointed by the keynote speech made by Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland yesterday. He criticises the Icelandic government for not wanting to declare a climate emergency, something activists have long been calling for. Finnur adds that the measures to fight climate change that Katrín outlined do not go far enough considering the science she herself cites.

In her speech, Katrín stated that the scientific data on climate change was more convincing than ever and showed that the Paris Agreement was not enough to respond to climate change. She stated that while Iceland has made progress in fighting climate change it was always possible to do better, and emphasised shifting over to renewables in ships and aircraft. She added that young people were calling for action “we must listen to them.”

Finnur does not feel heard by Icelandic authorities, however. “I’m just a bit angry, to be honest. The Prime Minister mentioned at the beginning of her speech the science is clearer than ever before and that we are seeing a state of emergency developing around the world. Yet the government still does not want to declare a state of emergency in climate issues in Iceland and the goals that Katrín outlined directly afterwards are not close to enough in the context of the science to which she refers,” Finnur stated.

Finnur stated that the world needs to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 in order to keep global warming within 1.5°C, but according to Iceland’s updated national contribution within the EU climate goals, Iceland will probably be allocated a 40% contraction. “It is just not acceptable for a rich nation in a privileged position, as Iceland is, to have lower goals than what the world average needs to be.”

Finnur expressed his wish to see the government listen more to young people and set goals in line with the science they are referencing.

Readers can watch an alternate version of Katrín’s address here.

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