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'Get in line or get out of the way': Māori activist takes centre-stage at COP26 climate change summit

Newshub logo Newshub 1/11/2021 Lisette Reymer
Māori activist for climate and indigenous peoples India Logan-Riley opened the first day reflecting on her first presentation six years ago at the summit. © Newshub Māori activist for climate and indigenous peoples India Logan-Riley opened the first day reflecting on her first presentation six years ago at the summit.

Delegates from 200 countries are gathering in Glasgow for the highly anticipated COP26 climate change summit.

And Greta Thunberg isn't the only champion of change they'll have to confront. A voice from Ngāti Kahungunu was centre-stage on Monday, setting the tone of what's to come.

Māori activist for climate and indigenous peoples India Logan-Riley opened the first day reflecting on her first presentation six years ago at the summit.

"Six years I first spoke these stories into this space, and every year since I have repeated the same words - wildfires, sea-level rise, wildfires, suffering, sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, sea-level rise. Emissions continue to rise," she told the crowd.

'Get in line or get out of the way': Māori activist takes centre-stage at COP26 climate change summit
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"I'm the same age as the negotiations."

She ended her presentation with a strong and clear message to the world leaders.

"Learn our histories, listen to our stories, honour our knowledge and get in line, or get out of the way. Kia ora."

The COP dress rehearsal ended in Italy on Monday with G20 leaders announcing a watered-down agreement to "pursue meaningful actions" - but no real promise.

The Pope spoke at his pulpit and Prince Charles at his, both pleading leaders to do more.

"Quite literally it is the last chance saloon," Prince Charles said.

Executive director of Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan worried leaders will grin their way through Glasgow, offering only empty pledges.

"You're going to hear a lot of greenwash around this conference, 'we're going net-zero', but if you look behind the curtain and see what's there, there's nothing there."

But finally, after being postponed for over a year, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Patricia Espinosa says the world is at a pivotal point.

"Now is the day, now is the hour. Colleagues, dear friends, we stand at a pivotal point in history."

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