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The Climate Ambition Summit 2020

As our world grows more aware of the destructive impact we are leaving on climate and nature, the urgency to take more action increases. Thus, on the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement, representatives from all over the world unite to renew their pledge on the accord and to put forth even bolder plans. Therefore, Climate Ambition Summit 2020 is a representation of the world’s leaders’ commitment to the cause.

The sprints to Glasgow

Many have dubbed this conference “the sprint to Glasgow”, thus referring to the UN Climate Conference that got pushed back to November 2021 due to the current pandemic. Many also considered the delay as a second chance for countries to announce even more ambitious and wide-ranging plans. Plans that will decrease emissions while turning their economies “greener” and, therefore, more sustainable.

The virtual summit reported promising announcements with at least 24 countries suggesting new strategies to reach carbon neutrality or go even further.

“It’s all about putting some more meat on the bone,” says Rachel Cleetus, policy director with the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. It’s about “the countries not just making aspirational pledges, but backing them up with credible, ambitious policy plans domestically to make sure that they can meet their international commitments.”

Saving the coral

Moreover, the summit highlighted the significance of saving coral reefs. Since climate change is turning oceans warmer, it is also ultimately turning them more acidic. Thus, endangering both the marine lives and the coral reefs. Saving the corals will help in saving at least 25 percent of all marine life around the world. Respectively, the destruction of them will set up an irreversible chain of events and the collapse of entire ecosystems.

Positive signs of progress

Over the process of the last year, many countries proved their true intentions regarding the climate. Furthermore, during the summit, many of the world’s leading economies have pledged further commitments. For example, the European Union agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the bloc by at least 55 percent by the end of the decade. Moreover, countries that represent more than 65 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70 percent of the world economy, are preparing ambitious strategies to achieve carbon neutrality.

Furthermore, almost 110 countries have pledged carbon neutrality or “net zero” by 2050. China promised to achieve the same result before 2060. Achieving net-zero means that countries will no longer add any new emission levels to the atmosphere. Though emissions will continue, the absorption of their equivalent amount from the atmosphere will balance the odds.

Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, states that “ambition is a close cousin of optimism and hope.”

“Every bit of additional warming does damage, so we can never truly be too ambitious,” he adds. “But we must also recognize the political constraints we’re operating under and work to achieve progress that is possible under those constraints.”

‘You have failed us’

Though the announcements prove to be a positive sign of a world united with the same cause, many are still skeptical. This includes the young activist climate activist Greta Thunberg. Last year, the teenage activist expressed her frustration with the current decisions, saying “You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.”

This year, Greta Thunberg released a new video demonstrating that her anger is still undimmed. She strongly argues that the world is “speeding in the wrong direction” and calling for immediate action, rather than the setting of “distant hypothetical targets”.


Botkin-Kowacki, E. (2020, December 16). Can the world outdo the Paris accord? Climate summit dreams big. The Christian Science Monitor. Ambition Summit 2020. (2020). Climate Change. Climate Ambition Summit. (2020, December 16). UN News.