After being shamed in worldwide protests Friday and Greta Thunberg's speech Monday, the nations of the world ended the UN Climate Summit with, essentially, promises to do better. Referring to "this largely disappointing set of outcomes," the Verge reports, OxFam International said, "We cannot keep pushing these decisions down the road – we are running out of time." Before the summit, Secretary General António Guterres had asked that countries sign on for concrete steps: commit to hitting net-zero emissions by 2050 or stopping to build coal-fired power plants, for example, per the Washington Post. "There is a cost to everything," he told the summit Monday morning. "But the biggest cost is doing nothing."
At the end of the day, Guterres said 77 countries committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and 70 promised to do more to fight climate change, per the AP. Business outdid nations at times: 100 business leaders said they'll join the green economy, and one-third of the global banking sector committed to green goals. Bill Gates said his foundation will contribute $310 million to help 300 million farmers around the world adapt to climate change. But experts said the promises made won't bring the change that's needed. Nations representing the major economies received the most criticism, and of those, a World Resources Institute official singled out the US for "not coming to the table and engaging." Guterres expressed hope. "Action by action, the tide is turning," he said. "But we have a long way to go.' (Read more climate change stories.)