Since at least the 1960s, scientists in the United States and elsewhere have been warning about how humans have changed the climate by burning fossil fuels.

The warnings were rejected by many who either didn’t believe in the science or didn’t want to make the sacrifices that would be needed.

While there are still many who fight taking the steps necessary to slow climate change, the accuracy of the science and predictions are no longer in doubt as the world sees the devastation of more erratic weather, melting polar ice, rising and warming oceans, and the human suffering they cause.

In some African nations, prolonged droughts and lack of water are causing starvation, fueling political tensions and heightening the chance for wars.

It is amid this backdrop that government officials, business leaders and environmentalists from around the globe are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, for a two-week summit called the COP26 conference.

It is the biggest climate event since the 2015 conference in Paris where nations committed to non-binding targets to reduce fossil fuel use and to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

The Glasgow Summit will show that lack of commitment means those goals have fallen far short. A recent United Nations analysis shows that without dramatic actions the globe will warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

President Joe Biden is attending the summit with an ambitious climate change agenda that sets a goal of the U.S. reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. But it is already evident Biden’s plan relies too heavily on incentives without the needed mandates required to reach that goal.

Fossil fuel lobbyists and most Republicans in Congress continue to be successful in preventing legislation to create mandates and set penalties that would bring the changes that are necessary.

Achieving the fossil fuel reductions needed to prevent catastrophe will be a daunting task that will require the world’s industrialized nations to set up policies and spending programs that will bring true reductions in greenhouse gases.

Pledges of greenhouse gas reductions are fine, but they are inadequate if not backed up. World leaders, including Biden, will need to demonstrate they will take the difficult steps needed and Congress needs to stop blocking necessary legislation that would show America’s commitment.

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