COP26: Requirements of the new UN climate agreement

GLASGOVO, SCOTLAND – After two years of preparation and 13 days of difficult negotiations, did negotiators at the UN climate meeting in Glasgow save the planet?

Summary: no.

But they were hardly expected to do so. The annual Conference of the Parties, recently held for the 26th time, is about making countries gradually expand their resources to quell global warming.

The focus of the Glasgow talks was not to forge a new treaty but to finalize the one agreed in Paris six years ago and build on it by further curbing greenhouse gases, bending the temperature closer to levels that do not threaten humans. civilization.

Here is a look at what has been achieved in Glasgow:

SKY AT LESS EMISSIONS

Entering the Glasgow negotiation, most countries, including the United States, China and the 27 members of the European Union, have declared new, more ambitious targets for reducing emissions.

Some, like India, announced further measures at the meeting itself. Side agreements brokered by host country Britain covered issues such as reversing deforestation, accelerating electric vehicles, removing coal, weakening methane emissions and unlocking an investment account for the fight against climate change.

Within the official negotiations, countries agreed to firmly focus on the most ambitious goal in the 2015 Paris Agreement that global warming should not go beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. Experts and vulnerable countries have long recommended that threshold, but some nations have previously held the option of targeting “well below 2 C.”

They also agreed to explicitly target coal use and fossil fuel subsidies, although the original proposals were heavily downplayed.

To stimulate further ambition, major broadcasters will be asked to present new targets at the 2022 UN climate conference in Egypt.

HELP TO RICH COUNTRIES

There was bad blood in the meeting because rich countries did not fulfill their promise to provide $ 100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor nations deal with climate change.

The final agreement expressed “deep regret” over the failure of funding and urges wealthy nations to invent the money as soon as possible.

The share and amount of money earmarked for poor countries to adapt to rising sea levels and other effects of climate change have also been increased, though not as much as they required.

NO REPAIRS

Wealthy nations such as the United States and members of the European Union have rejected demands to set up a fund to compensate poor countries for the destruction caused by climate change, for which developed countries are severely responsible for their past emissions.

Many vulnerable countries were outraged by the decision but nevertheless backed the deal with the hope of making progress on the issue of “loss and damage” next year in Egypt.

RULES OF CARBON TRADE

Setting the rules of international cooperation to reduce emissions, including carbon markets, has eluded nations since Paris. Six years later, it has remained one of the most difficult issues in the negotiating chamber for the past two weeks.

The rules covering what is known as Article 6 will become increasingly important as countries and companies aim to reduce their emissions to “net zero” by 2050 by balancing any residual pollution they produce with an equal amount of carbon trapped elsewhere.

While a compromise has been found that proponents can add trillions of dollars to the fight against climate change, some countries and environmental groups fear the deal has left significant loopholes that could undermine the integrity of the system by allowing certain emission reductions to be counted twice.

Brazil’s change, under pressure from some of its major companies, proved crucial to reaching the deal. On the contrary, the country may retain some carbon credits that it has accumulated under an older system that experts say was not credible.

A small surcharge on coal trade will go to a fund to help poor countries adapt to global warming, but activists hoped the tax would be applied more widely and blamed the US opposition on what was happening in Glasgow.

TECHNICAL TWEAKS

Countries have agreed on several touches to the rules on how and how often they should report what they are doing to reduce emissions. While this may seem technical, experts argue that greater transparency and more frequent accounting is important to build trust because nations are closely observing what others are doing.

China is especially wary that others are examining their efforts too closely. Along with other developed and emerging economies, it is now expected to report every fifth instead of every 10 years.

.

Leave a Comment