After a week of announcements and deliberations, COP26 is now seeking an ambitious final consensus

REUTERS/Yves Herman

After a week of promising announcements against coal, methane or deforestation, COP26 reaches its equator and faces in its final stretch the challenge of agreeing on a plan that accelerates the fight against climate change and offers sustainable financing to developing countries.

Most observers agree that the commitments issued by governments since the start of the UN climate summit on October 31 in Glasgow (Scotland) “are a step forward”, although “everything depends on their being implemented soon. and well, ”says Nick Mabey of the prestigious E3G think tank.

NGOs such as Greenpeace acknowledge that there has been progress, but warn that many of the initiatives “are voluntary” and sometimes “the fine print includes gaps”, so that success will lie in their execution.

”Taken together, the fact that we now have 90% of the world economy committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions and that, if countries meet their commitments, we can limit global warming to 1.8 degrees this century (according to data from the International Energy Agency, IEA) means that politicians have realized the magnitude of the problem and are offering solutions, “says Mabey.

Smoke is shown rising from a chimney as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, on November 6, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman
Smoke is shown rising from a chimney as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, on November 6, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman

According to United Nations data, if the measures announced so far are fulfilled, they would entail a reduction of 9 gigatons of CO2, compared to the total of 22 that must be eliminated before 2030 in order to limit global warming this century to 1.5 degrees, such as collects the Paris Agreement.

To keep this goal viable, the States must agree at the end of COP26, on November 12, a mechanism to spur the reduction of emissions, with aid for those poorer territories that, without promoting them, suffer its consequences.

OFFENSIVE AGAINST COAL

One of the concrete improvements so far at the summit has been the first announcement made by the India, one of the most polluting countries, on when It plans to reach zero net emissions, something it will do in 2070 (compared to the general goal of 2050), and that it will triple its renewable energy sources by 2030.

Analysts such as Ed King also value the three multilateral commitments acquired to gradually abandon the generation of electricity with hydrocarbons, responsible for 25% of CO2 emissions.

(Gettyimages)
(Gettyimages)

Of note is the agreement signed by a score of countries, such as the United States, Costa Rica or the United Kingdom, to end the financing of fossil fuels abroad in 2022, which will release about 18,000 million dollars (15,700 million euros ) for renewables.

Although China, whose leader Xi Jinping is the great absentee from this summit, did not sign this pact -as neither did Japan, Russia or Australia-, It had previously pledged not to invest more in coal plants outside its borders and to reach net zero emissions by 2060.

On the other hand, twenty-three countries have pledged for the first time not to build new coal-fired power plants, bringing that bloc to a total of 42 states.

Although there are not the US, India or China, there are Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Spain or Poland, the latter responsible for 96% of the coal mined in the European Union in 2020 and 43% of the total of coal consumption in the community block. In spite of everything, Poland does not plan to leave coal until 2049, a longer horizon than desired.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mabey considers that the absence of the United States in this pact, motivated by questions of national policy, although “visually it does not look good” does not have significant consequences, since the country hardly has coal plants.

In a third announcement, 28 governments joined the group of States committed to the gradual elimination of coal from their “energy mix”, bringing their total to 165.

METHANE AND DEFORESTATION

Another advance this week has been an alliance of more than 100 countries to reduce methane emissions by 30% this decade, although with the absence of China, India and Russia.

COP26 scored its first triumph on Tuesday by announcing an agreement between 110 countries, including Brazil and Colombia, to halt deforestation by 2030, which would improve the effectiveness of forests as carbon sinks in the fight against climate change .

Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez addresses a panel during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, November 2, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman
Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez addresses a panel during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, November 2, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman

And this Saturday, 45 states pledged to move towards a more natural and sustainable agriculture, which will have a special impact on Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Looking ahead to next week, the president of COP26, former British Minister Alok Sharma, has indicated that the priority will be to agree on contributions from rich countries to poor ones so that they can adapt to climate change, beyond the 100,000 million dollars (86,500 million euros) annually agreed in 2009 and that will be applied in 2022. It is also pending to develop the regulations for the full application of the Paris Agreement.

(with information from EFE)

KEEP READING:

Renewable energies will be the protagonists of Thursday’s session at COP26
COP26: Boris Johnson declared himself “cautiously optimistic” of a global agreement to stop the climate crisis
COP26: world leaders pledged to halt deforestation by 2030
Greta Thunberg declared that COP26 is the most exclusive climate summit



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