By Conor McCue

(CBS4) – Members of an Aspen-based nonprofit are among the many experts and world leaders gathering this week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.  

(credit: CBS)

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The conference occurs every year, but Jacquelyn Francis, founder and executive director of the Global Warming Mitigation Project, says this year it is critical for world leaders meet the climate crisis head on and turn promises into action. Between unprecedented storms, heat waves, and wildfires, 2021 has already brought a glimpse what could become the norm, if not for major changes.  

“The world leaders need to step up and lead,” Francis said. “I think they’re very afraid to actually go beyond what they think their constituents want, and they need to actually be bold about this.”  

Francis’ Aspen-based nonprofit finds and funds projects that reduce greenhouse gases. This week, a delegation of eight staff members and climate experts are in Glasgow for COP26 with the intention networking and pushing for more climate action.  

(credit: CBS)

The group will have access to what’s known as the “Blue Zone” at the conference, where world leaders and delegates can host some negotiations, events, and talks regarding actionable solutions to climate change. 

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“A big part of what we’re trying to do is just activate the people who are serious about getting this done,” Francis said.    

According to Francis, necessary solutions include reducing dependency on fossil fuels, scaling up other energy solutions, and more. One of the ultimate goals is limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed upon in the 2016 “Paris Agreement” at COP21.  

(credit: CBS)

“There’s really not near enough being done, and we just keep kicking the can down the road,” Francis said. “We’ve been doing this for about 30 years now.”  

So far this year, leaders have pledged to end deforestation and reduce methane emissions by 2030. Francis said her group and others from around the world will continue to push for far more action before it’s too late.  

 “A lot of people out there think this isn’t urgent enough. I’m telling you, I’m a climate scientist, this is urgent enough,” Francis said.  

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The climate conference goes through Nov. 12.  

Conor McCue