The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Can 3.5 Percent Save the Planet?

By Yasmeen Serhan

08 Nov 2021 · 6 min read

Although world leaders were gathered in Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference last week, Greta Thunberg said change wouldn’t be coming from within the summit’s halls. “That is not leadership—this is leadership,” Thunberg said of, and to, her fellow activists. “This is what leadership looks like.”

The way many environmental campaigners, including Thunberg, see it, they are the ones who helped create the space for governments to take more decisive action on climate change—an issue that has attracted growing levels of concern across the world’s advanced economies, including from a majority of people in the United States. Through protests, school strikes, and other nonviolent actions, they have been credited with raising public awareness about the seriousness of the climate crisis, and the need for governments to solve it. Yet despite these efforts, many climate activists I spoke with recently lamented that COP26 was failing to meet the urgency of the moment.

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