Everything is at stake in final countdown to COP26 climate talks in Glasgow - Ilona Amos

More than half of all youngsters across the globe think humanity is doomed, according to the world’s largest ever study into children and young people’s feelings about climate change.

Three-quarters said the future was scary, with the highest levels of worry in countries where climate breakdown is most apparent.

Although I cannot pretend to be in the same demographic as those questioned, I’m also suffering climate anxiety.

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But I hope the world’s leaders are experiencing it gazillion-fold as they pack their cases to come to Scotland for COP26.

Justice and peace artist Greg Mitchell puts the finishing touches to hi mural representing the ecological crisis, which has gone on display at St John's Church in Edinburgh' to coincide with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

With negotiations due to kick off in Glasgow in less than a week, everything is at stake.

The ultimate aim of the talks is to keep the Paris Agreement goal – restricting global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – within reach and secure net-zero emissions by 2050.

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The world is currently on track to smash the 2C threshold of warming, beyond which scientists agree climate change will be not only catastrophic but irreversible – with predictions suggesting previously agreed targets could result in a rise of more than 3C by the end of this century.

From heatwaves and wildfires to hurricanes, flooding and mudslides, the world has already this year experienced a brutal taster of the kind of extreme events that will become increasingly commonplace in the near future.

Surely we don’t need more proof that now is the time to step up to the biggest challenge ever to face our species.

As Nicola Sturgeon said in a speech at Strathclyde University: “Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees won’t prevent all of the impacts of climate change. It’s probably already too late to do that.

“But every fraction of a degree above that intensifies the catastrophic nature of what we face. If we allow it to happen, we do risk life on this planet becoming unrecognisable.

“Every single leader – without exception – gathering in Glasgow next week knows that. No-one can pretend otherwise.

“And each and every country gathered round the negotiating table also knows the action that is needed to prevent it. So there is no excuse for failing to act.”

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