Wednesday, December 1

What’s at stake at the climate summit? Which countries will attend?


The summit will possibly close with the so-called ‘Glasgow Pact’ and a collective commitment to “keep within reach” the maximum global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees.

Protests before the start of COP26, in Glasgow.
Protests before the start of COP26, in Glasgow.ANDY BUCHANANAFP

Updated

COP26 can be considered as the ‘H’ Hour of the weather. Some 30,000 delegates from 200 countries will come to Glasgow to “assess collective progress” after the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set the goal of “keeping the rise in global average temperature well below 2 degrees above average. pre-industrial levels and “pursuing efforts” to keep that increase at 1.5 degrees Countries are required to submit their National Contributions (NDCs) with their plans for reducing emissions by 2030. The COP (which literally means Conference of the Parties) was initially scheduled for November 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic and will be held from October 31 to November 12.

Will there be a new deal in Glasgow?
The summit will possibly close with the so-called ‘Glasgow Pact’ and a collective commitment to “keep within reach” the maximum global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees. In Paris, the great battle was between the 2 degree ceiling or the 1.5 degree ceiling. The pressure of the Alliance of Small Island States, in the first line of fire of climate change due to the rise in sea levels, was vital to introduce with a shoehorn (with the initial support of the European Union) the 1.5 degree clause. The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have reinforced the global consensus around this figure.
Are we getting close to this temperature yet?
According to NASA, the global average temperature has already risen 1.2 degrees since pre-industrial times. The British MET estimates that the psychological limit of 1.5 degrees could be exceeded in the coming years. The past decade was the hottest ever on record, with 2016 being the warmest in history, followed by 2020, which kicked off with the wave of fires in Australia. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that with current commitments to reduce emissions, the global temperature can rise as much as 2.7 degrees. The reduction of emissions in 2030 would be barely 7%, when it would be necessary to reach 45%.
So how can you move forward in Glasgow?
The host, the United Kingdom, is holding bilateral meetings, country by country, to raise its level of ambition. The emphasis will be on investment in renewable energies, on the promotion of the electric car and on the progressive abandonment of coal, as well as the end of deforestation and the protection and restoration of ecosystems.
Doesn’t the absence of the president of China, the world’s main CO2 emitter, discredit?
China is effectively responsible for 27% of global emissions. Xi Jinping’s absence has indeed been the UK’s main diplomatic hit, which was hoping to count on him until the last moment. Jinping will finally intervene by videoconference, although he has sent a large delegation to Glasgow. In advance, Jinping pledged to peak China’s emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. He has also announced an end to financing overseas coal projects, although his country will continue to build power plants. thermals within its borders. China this week presented a preview of its “contributions”, considered insufficient by analysts.
What will be the other big absences?
Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to announce that he will not be in Glasgow. Its tense relations with the British government are part of the reason, although Russia (the main exporter of natural gas to the EU) is among the countries with the least action on climate change and the greatest dependence on fossil fuels. The other great absence will be that of Queen Elizabeth II, forced to “rest” by her doctors. The monarch, who recently confessed her “irritation” at the lack of action of the leaders, will send a recorded message at the end. It is estimated that some 120 leaders will finally attend the meeting, despite certain restrictions by the Covid.
Will Joe Biden be among them?
President Joe Biden, who spoke to the Pope on climate change on Friday, has announced that he will be in Glasgow “ringing the bells.” The renewed US push for its ecological transition plans has been welcomed by the international community, although it will have yet to accelerate to regain ground lost during the Trump era.
Will international financing of climate action be finely tackled?
International financing will in fact be the second major theme of the summit, and the point to which the United States, which has doubled its commitments, has contributed the most. However, the goal of reaching 100 billion dollars a year in financial aid to developing countries has not been reached beforehand and has been postponed to 2023, with the new goal of reaching a cumulative total of half a trillion dollars between the 2020 and 2025.
Will there be talk of zero emission plans for 2050?
Another of the objectives of the summit will be to continue expanding the “zero emissions” club, which at COP25 in Madrid was made up of 70 countries and currently there are more than 130 and cover 80% of the world economy. The last to jump on the bandwagon has been Australia, although reserving the right to do it “in its own way.” The world’s largest coal exporter has dozens of fossil fuel projects in its portfolio, which has undermined the announcement’s credibility. “Premier” Boris Johnson also recently unveiled his “zero emissions” plan for 2050, criticized by both environmental groups and the hard-line Conservative Party.
What will happen during the summit?
The first climax will arrive on November 1 and 2 with the assistance of the leaders, who will surely use their time in Glasgow to make meaningful announcements. Thematic days will then begin – on finance, energy, nature, adaptation, transport – while the negotiations last, which could last until the finish line of November 12 or even stretch some extra day.
Will there be protests in the streets?
The environmental groups Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have announced disruptive actions, such as road closures or interventions against the interests of fossil fuel companies. Greta Thunberg will also be in Glasgow with young activists from Fridays for Future. November 6 has been designated as the Day of Action.

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