The Weather Channel’s Paul Goodloe says Black people ‘need to have a seat at the table’ at COP26

"We need to worry about every single thing, every single decision coming out of COP26,” the meteorologist tells theGrio.

COP26 is entering its second week to foster conversations about climate change and The Weather Channel veteran Paul Goodloe believes that Black people should be part of the discourse.

“We’re on the front lines. Maybe not you, personally, but someone you know or someone you’re related to is on the frontlines more so than the people who are not Black or Brown that we need to worry about every single thing, every single decision coming out of COP26,” the meteorologist tells theGrio.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of Congo Felix Tshisekedi and President Joe Biden stand before speaking at a session on Action on Forests and Land Use, during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

The United Kingdom is host to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. World leaders such as President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and former President Barack Obama have appeared at the summit in Glasgow.

Goodloe says that it’s an important gathering and one that will ultimately strengthen each nation.

“It’s almost every country in the world getting together and they’re talking about climate change and the impacts. Not just in their particular country but how what happens in their country could impact other counties across the world,” he says.

“So they’re trying to come together for with a global strategy of mitigating the impacts that we are already feeling and will be feeling for years to come because of man’s influence and impact in our atmosphere which is now impacting our climate which is also impacting from time to time our day to day weather.”

Goodloe maintains that Black people “need to have a seat at the table,” at COP26 and beyond.

“If we’re not there, we can’t fight for ourselves, say what’s important for us and the communities in which we live.”

Paul Goodloe The Weather Channel
Paul Goodloe (Credit: The Weather Channel)

The Weather Channel vet likens the conversations to a meal prepared for the holidays.

“It’s almost like going to a Thanksgiving dinner and you’re not allowed to pick and choose, even have a say in what people put in the plate they give you. Of course, they’ll be food on your plate but maybe you don’t like ham. Maybe you don’t like turkey. Maybe you don’t like whatever they put in the sweet potatoes but it’s on your plate and we know what’s good for you. No, you know what’s good for you,” he states.

“You know what you want versus people putting it on your plate and telling you, “Why aren’t you happy?” So we have to have a seat at the table and unfortunately, across this country and across many countries in this world, Black people have historically been disenfranchised, economically disadvantaged and we’re kind if starting from behind so we don’t have the economic opportunities that other communities and other people have.”

Goodloe also invokes Flint, Michigan which is still dealing with the lingering effects of the water crisis. The drinking water was contaminated with lead in 2014 after the water source was switched and the aging infrastructure failed the community.

He drew a correlation between climate change and the Flint circumstances.

“It forces us to live in areas where we feel more of the impacts of climate change, of extreme weather events, of pollution and that all impacts our health, it all impacts our day to day living,” he says.

It all impacts us from living and fulfilling the so-called American dream. So COP26 is vitally important not just for Black people here in the US but Black people across the diaspora.”

COP26 began on Oct. 31 and will end on Friday.

Have you subscribed to the Grio podcasts, ‘Dear Culture’ or Acting Up? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!