BBC News:– Barack Obama has called on young people to “stay angry” in the fight against climate change at the COP26 summit.
The former US president urged them to apply political pressure to make a change, but warned they would need to accept compromises along the way.
Mr Obama said the world is “nowhere near where we need to be” to avoid a future climate catastrophe.
He criticised Donald Trump’s “active hostility toward climate science”, but said the US is ready to lead again.
Mr Obama also scolded China and Russia’s leaders for not physically attending the COP26 summit.
Speaking in Glasgow, Mr Obama received rapturous applause when he took to the stage and a standing ovation at the end of his speech – but there was pushback from activists.
He called out nations for failing to meet the pledges they made in the 2015 Paris Agreement, when he was in the White House.
However, activists were quick to point out those broken by his own administration, including the failure of a key promise by developed countries to deliver $100bn (£73bn) a year in climate finance to poorer nations.
Perhaps a little unsure of his location in Scotland, Obama referred to being in the “Emerald Isles”, seemingly a mistaken reference to Ireland, which is known poetically as the Emerald Isle. He also quoted Shakespeare, who was English.
He admitted there is still a lot of hard and messy work to do to reduce the effects of climate change, but said some promising progress had been made in the six years since the signing of the Paris Agreement, which he helped spearhead.
‘You can’t ignore politics’
Mr Obama dedicated much of his speech to young activists, who he said were “right to be frustrated”.
Addressing young people directly, he said they “can’t ignore politics” and that while protesting and hashtags raise awareness, they should get involved in politics at some level.
Referencing his own daughters’ shopping habits, he also called on young people to support businesses that were committed to sustainability, and boycott those that were not.
Obama’s catchphrase of the night was telling young activists to “stay angry”.
“To all the young people out there – I want you to stay angry. I want you to stay frustrated,” he said.
“But channel that anger. Harness that frustration. Keep pushing harder and harder for more and more. Because that’s what’s required to meet that challenge. Gird yourself for a marathon, not a sprint.”
He honoured the dedication of activists such as Greta Thunberg who are “forming movements across borders”, and urged young people to at least get out and vote for politicians who will stand against climate change.