December 8, 2021

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COP26: 5 key points of the final agreement of the summit on climate change

Image source, Reuters

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Scientists say extreme weather events such as floods often occur due to climate change.

After lengthy discussions and drafts of several drafts that lasted until this Saturday, the COP26 Climate Change Summit released a final document showing some improvements, but less than many needed.

Nearly 200 countries participating in COP26 have signed the document It is not legally binding, Is expected to set a global agenda against climate change in the next decade.

This highlights the unprecedented indication that coal is the main source of global warming and is committed to reducing its use. India and China eventually prevented it from signing a deadline to use it as an energy source.

It is also determined to set tough targets against coal burning next year.

Aiming to help developing countries adapt to climate change by 2025, developed countries are urged to at least double their joint financial allocations.

This doubles the amount of money that poor countries receive so that they can adapt to the effects of climate change.

  • Developed countries are urged to provide double funding to developing countries in line with climate change.
  • Countries are being asked to renew their carbon reduction targets for 2030 by next year.
  • There is a demand for a gradual abandonment of “the use of coal as an energy source and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.
  • It calls for “substantial increase in support” for developing countries exceeding $ 100 billion a year.
  • A dialogue will be established to examine the monetary issue in exchange for the damage already caused by climate change.

Image source, Reuters

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The overnight debate lasted until Saturday.

Are they going far enough?

There are no defined goals for new funding We need to help countries cope with climate change. There is only talk of an increase.

Although Greenpeace International, an environmental NGO, categorized the speech as “weak,” it acknowledged that it was an achievement.

“The language on coal and subsidies now includes a reference to a fair change, which is welcome,” said Jennifer Morgan, the group’s managing director.

“This is a warning call for the interests of fossil fuels. The deal is weak, but if they rescind it, they must respond to the youth, the people at the forefront of climate impact and finally history.”

The purpose of COP26 is to keep global warming “very below” 2 degrees Celsius – and to reach 1.5 C – to achieve action determinations to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The goal is to continue to reduce emissions until net zero reaches 2050.

What other announcements were made at the two-week summit in Glasgow?

US-China cooperation

In a surprising statement, the United States and China pledged to increase cooperation on climate issues over the next decade.

Agreed to take action on a number of issues including.

  • Methane emissions
  • Switching to clean energy
  • Decarbonization

The joint statement said the two sides would “show firm commitment to work together” to achieve the goal of a maximum temperature increase of 1.5 degrees.

As two major CO2 emitters, the agreement between the United States and China is considered crucial to achieve the goal of keeping temperatures below 1.5 degrees.

Organizations such as Greenpeace International welcomed the report. However, its executive director warned that both countries need to show greater commitment to achieving climate goals.

“Eventually, the report is low on the demand of climate-vulnerable countries demanding that countries with higher ambitions return to the table each year until the 1.5C gap is reached,” he said.

Deforestation

Leaders of more than 100 countries that make up 85% of the world’s forests have pledged to control deforestation by 2030.

Trees absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the major greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Therefore, deforestation is considered essential to combat climate change.

Similar past efforts have not stopped deforestation, but it is being better funded. However, it is unclear how that promise will be heeded and kept. Indonesia, a major signatory, later said the plan was “unfair”.

The plan to reduce current methane emissions by 30% by 2030 has been agreed by more than 100 countries.

Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, currently accounting for about a third of all human-caused global warming. Most are produced by activities such as animal husbandry and waste disposal.

Major broadcasters China, Russia and India did not join the plan, but are expected to do so later.

Coal

More than 40 countries – including major coal consumers such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile – have agreed to reduce their use of coal, which for the first time has been explicitly named as the root cause of global warming.

Some countries, such as Australia, India, China and the United States, which rely heavily on coal, have not yet signed the agreement. In addition, the deal does not consider other fossil fuels, such as oil and gas.

China and India have changed the final text of the COP26 agreement at the last minute, gradually reducing their use of coal.

Money

About 450 financial institutions controlling $ 130 trillion have agreed to support “clean” technology, such as renewable energy, and provide direct funding to those leaving the fossil fuel industry.

This initiative is an attempt to link private companies in an effort to achieve the goals of Net Zero and to finance Green Technology.

There is no definitive definition of what constitutes net zero targets. Furthermore, it pointed out that without the key commitment of some environmental organizations to end funding for fossil fuels, the initiative would be nothing more than a public relations exercise.

How will nations keep their promises?

By and large, any commitment made to the COP must be based on self-monitoring.

Only a few countries legalize their obligations. However, it is hoped that as the net moves towards zero, there will be more incentives among countries to pursue it.

In theory, sanctions could be imposed on countries that do not do so. But it may back down or some countries may deviate from international agreements.

The purpose of summits such as COP26 is to encourage all countries to continue to engage.

Picture above Getty Images. Respect for the visual editor of the colors that represent the weather Ed Hawkins And University Reading.

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