- BBC News World
Climate change is intensifying and now threatens all aspects of human life.
Left unchecked, humanity faces increasingly severe droughts and rising sea levels, which would lead to the mass extinction of species: it would be a catastrophe.
It would also increase the frequency of floods, heat waves, hurricanes and wildfires.
To control it, leaders from around the world have been meeting since November 1 in the city of Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, where the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP 26 takes place.
The summit has already paid off and generated several agreements, but not all the attending countries support them.
Here we offer you a summary of the most important commitments that have been achieved and the countries that joined, with a focus on Latin America.
End deforestation by 2030
More than 130 world leaders promised last week to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. It was the first major agreement reached at the COP26 climate summit.
Brazil, where large parts of the Amazon rainforest have already been cut down, was one of the signatories. Canada, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia also backed the initiative.
Within the countries latin americans That signed this agreement are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.
To achieve the goal, around US $ 19.2 billion of public and private funds will be used.
Simon Lewis, a climate and forestry expert at University College London, told the BBC that it is good news that so many countries are committing to ending deforestation and that there is “significant funding to move forward on that journey. “.
But he remembered that the world “has been here before”, alluding to a similar voluntary declaration that was signed by 40 countries in 2014 in New York and that “failed to curb deforestation at all.”
Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom and host of the world summit in Glasgow, called this new commitment signed by more than 130 countries “historic”.
Cutting down trees contributes to climate change by depleting forests that absorb large amounts of CO2.
Methane is one of the greenhouse gases that contributes the most to climate change and is responsible for a third of the current warming of the Earth.
Dozens of countries have joined an initiative led by the US and the European Union (EU) that seeks to reduce emissions of this gas by at least 30% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
In the framework of COP26, almost 100 additional countries joined the commitment.
The list now includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.
China, Russia and India, three of the world’s top methane emitters, refrained from adhering to the plan.
About 40% of methane emissions come from natural sources such as wetlands, but most of it now comes from a variety of human activities, ranging from agriculture, such as the production of livestock and rice, to the use of natural gas and garbage dumps.
Since 2008 there has been a large increase in methane emissions, which some researchers linked to the boom in hydraulic fracturing in some parts of the US
More than 40 countries pledged to accelerate the energy transition and reduce the use of coal, the biggest contributor to climate change.
The commitment includes ending all investments that consider opening new coal-fired power plants, as well as boosting the development of “clean energies“.
The signatories stipulate to phase out the use of this pollutant by the 2030s for the major economies and the 2040s for the poorest nations.
“The end of coal is in sight,” said the British Minister of Energy and Business, Kwasi Kwarteng.
“The world is moving in the right direction, ready to seal the fate of coal and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future powered by clean energy,” he added.
Large consumers of coal such as Germany, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam backed the deal.
Dozens of organizations did as well, and several of the world’s largest banks agreed to stop funding the coal industry.
Nevertheless, Australia, India, China and the US., four of the most dependent on coal in the world, did not sign it.
Besides Chile, Ecuador has been the only country in Latin America that has joined.
For Juan Pablo Osornio, head of the Greenpeace delegation at COP26, this statement “is still far below“of what the world needs.
“Despite the bright headline, it gives countries enormous leeway to choose their own elimination date,” he said.
Fishing-free ecological zone
Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica agreed on the second day of the summit an agreement to create an ecological zone free of fishing in their waters in the Pacific Ocean.
The so-called Marine Corridor of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (CMAR) will have an area of 500,000 square kilometers and will connect the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Malpelo Island in Colombia and those of Cocos and Coiba, located in the territorial waters of Costa Rica and Panama.
“We are going to protect ecosystems such as the Galapagos and the Cocos Islands, which are among the most valuable in the world,” said the president of Costa Rica, Álvaro Quesada, during the signing of the agreement.
The main objective of the initiative is protect migratory species that pass through the area annually and are not affected by commercial fishing.
At 500,000 square kilometers, the corridor will be “the largest marine reserve in the West,” according to the Colombian government.
When unveiling the pact, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the effort as a “bold, ambitious and crucial initiative for conservation efforts in this beautiful region.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.