Business as usual no longer an option 


By Mattias Söderberg

On September 20 the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, invited the world to a Climate Ambition Summ-

Using creativity for a serious message at the March to End Fossil Fuels, New York City, September 17. PHOTO: Simon Chambers/ACT.                  

it. The headline is good, because we do need more ambition if we, as humanity, are going to manage the current climate crisis. But leaders have been talking about increased ambition for many years. It is now time for them to turn their words into real action.  

While the climate crisis is a reality, the majority of world leaders continue with business as usual. This is no longer an option. All of creation is at risk, and it is now time for bold, even drastic, initiatives.  

Such initiatives will influence how we live, and how our countries develop. Fossil fuels must become a solution firmly left behind, and our future must become green and sustainable. This has implications for the kind of energy we use, but also for how we travel, how we live, and what we produce and consume.  

These drastic changes will be part of our efforts to adapt. Droughts, heatwaves and floods are part of a harsher new reality, especially for vulnerable communities in the Global South. We must develop all our communities so that they are robust and adapted to this new reality. That may well have implications for where and how we live, how we produce our food, and how we build infrastructure and communities.  

A future where we have learned how to handle the climate crisis is not bad, but it will be different. Business as usual is no longer an option. If leaders want to show real leadership, and talk about real ambition, they must show a willingness to transform our way of life.  

Speeches about a new and ambitious tomorrow must be turned into concrete decisions, real actions and concrete budget allocations. Fossil fuel subsidies must be cancelled. Restrictions to ensure that both public and private investments contribute to a sustainable future must be introduced. Scaled-up climate finance, to be delivered by the global north to vulnerable countries in the global south, must be introduced in the next budget review.   

I listened to the speeches at the Climate Ambition Summit, and I hoped the ministers would make bold and ambitious commitments. I hoped they would talk about how to reform their countries, and how to correct the current, unsustainable development path. But all talk about ambition must be turned into real action! 

Mattias Söderberg of DanChurchAid is the co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Reference group.