Glasgow Summit Ends in the Middle of a Climate of Disappointment – Global Problems

One of the family photos taken after the arduous end of the 26th climate summit in Glasgow, which closed a day later than anticipated by a Climate Pact described as lacking by even the most optimistic, lacking important decisions to fight the crisis and without directly confronting ; fossil fuels, the cause of the crisis. CREDIT: UNFCCC
  • by Emilio Godoy (glasgovo)
  • Inter Press Service

That was the prevailing sentiment among delegates from the developing South during the closing ceremony on the night of Saturday, November 13, one day after the planned end of the conference.

Bolivia’s chief negotiator, Diego Pacheco, questioned the outcome of the summit. “It is not fair to hand over responsibility to developing countries. Developed countries do not want to acknowledge their responsibility for the crisis. They have systematically broken their financial promises and issuance commitments,” he told IPS minutes after the end of the 26th Conference. of the Parties (COP26) on climate change in Glasgow.

The 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ignored the public outcry that has formed in the demands of indigenous peoples, youth, women, scientists and social movements around the world on substantive measures to combat the climate crisis. , although the goal of keeping global warming up to 1.5 degrees Celsius barely survives on life support.

The Glasgow Climate Pact that came out of the summit finally mentions the need to move away from the use of coal. But it had to blunt the stronger recommendation to “step out” to overcome the last stumbling block.

In addition, COP26 broke a taboo, albeit very hotly, after a laborious march and counter-march in the negotiating chamber and in the three drafts of the Glasgow Pact: there was a mention of fossil fuels as part of the climate crisis. And it also stated the need to reduce “inefficient” subsidies for fossil fuels.

But the summit, where decisions are made by consensus, avoided a strong stance on the matter. It also avoided moving from recommendations to bonds for the next issue, to be held in Egypt, and those that follow, while the climate crisis continues to cause severe droughts, devastating storms, melting of the polar ice caps and warming of the oceans.

In a plenary session that was postponed by a few minutes, the final statement underwent a last-minute change when India, one of the villains of the meeting – along with Saudi Arabia, Australia and Russia – called for the phrase “removal” of coal. to be replaced by “phasing”, a change questioned by countries such as Mexico, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

A paradoxical fact at the end of COP26, where the civil society organizations complained that they had been abandoned, was the decision of several countries to approve the final text although they differed on several points, including the fossil energy elevators.

“Today, we can say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees to reach. But its pulse is weak. And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into swift action,” said conference president Alok Sharma, stifling tears. after a pact – albeit minimal – was reached by negotiating three drafts and arranging a laborious discussion on the question of fossil fuels, until the final plenary.

The South is still waiting

Lost among the effects of the climate crisis and forgotten by the industrialized countries, the global South has failed to get something essential for many of its nations: a clear plan and funding for loss and damage, an issue that has been postponed to COP27 in Egypt.

Mohamed Adow, director of the non-government Power Shift Africa, said the pact “is not good enough … There is no mention of solidarity and justice. We need a clear process to deal with loss and damage. There should be a link between emission reduction. , funding and adaptation. “

The final decision by China, the United States, India and the European Union to turn its back on global fossil fuel output and deny climate support to the most vulnerable nations has left the developing world high and dry.

“There are issues that cannot wait until COP27 or 2025. To face loss and damage, the most vulnerable countries need funding to fight the impacts on their territories,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, global leader on climate and energy for the non-governmental World Wildlife. Fund, told IPS.

Climate policy has been, at least on the agenda, the focus of COP26.

The summit focused on carbon market rules, climate finance of at least $ 100 billion a year, gaps between emission reduction targets and needed reductions, strategies for carbon neutrality by 2050, adaptation plans, and the work platform for local communities and indigenous peoples.

But the goal of hundreds of billions of dollars a year has been delayed, a reflection of the fact that funding for climate mitigation and adaptation is a touching issue, especially for developed countries.

Offers and promises – on paper

One success at COP26 was the approval of the rules of the Paris Agreement, signed in the French capital in December 2015, at COP21, to form the basis on which subsequent summits revolved. By 2024, all countries will have to report detailed emissions data that will form a baseline for estimating future greenhouse gas reductions.

The agreement on the functioning of carbon markets creates a trading system between countries, but does not eliminate the possibility for countries and companies to bypass the rules.

Industrialized countries have committed to double adaptation funding by 2025 based on 2019 sums. In addition, COP26 has approved a new work program to increase greenhouse gas cuts, with reports due in 2022.

It also asked the UNFCCC to assess climate plans that year and its final statement calls on countries to switch from coal and hydrocarbons to renewable energy.

In addition to the Climate Pact, the summit produced voluntary commitments against deforestation, methane emissions, a gas more polluting than carbon dioxide, and the phasing out of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

In addition, at least 10 countries have agreed to stop issuing new licenses for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in their territories.

In addition, about thirty nations have agreed to suspend public funding for coal, gas and oil by 2022.

Finally, more than 100 stakeholders, including countries and companies, have signed the abolition of cars with internal combustion engines by 2030, without major automakers such as Germany, Spain and France joining, and one hundred nations have signed a pact to promote. sustainable agriculture.

All of the 2030 promises that still need concrete plans for implementation imply a temperature rise of 2.8 degrees C by the end of this century, according to the independent Climate Action Tracker.

The climate plans of the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) will cost more than $ 93 billion annually, the non-governmental International Institute for Environment and Development said in Glasgow.

In addition, annual adaptation costs in developing countries would be about $ 70 billion, reaching a total of $ 140 to $ 300 billion by 2030, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

But the biggest expenditures relate to loss and damage, which would hover between $ 290 billion and $ 580 billion by 2030, and therefore the enormous concern of these nations to obtain vital funding, according to a 2019 study. And their disappointment with the results conference from October 31 to November 13.

During his presentation at the closing plenary session, Seve Paeniu, a climate envoy from Tuvalu, an island nation whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels, showed a photo of his three grandchildren and said he was thinking about what to tell them. when he got home.

“Glasgow has made a promise to guarantee their future. It will be the best Christmas present I can bring home,” he said. But judging by the Climate Pact, Paeniu may have to look for another gift.

IPS produced this article with the support of Mexico’s Climate Initiative and the European Climate Foundation.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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