LLike many others, I would have liked to see a stronger result from Cop26. But we must not lose sight of the fact that a lot was achieved, and the end result brings us much closer to where we need to be than where we were a few weeks ago.
For the first time, countries agreed to take action on fossil fuels. Yes, it could have gone further, but let’s not forget that never before has a single word been spoken about fossil fuels in any Police deal. So the agreed text is significant.
We also reached consensus on a number of outstanding issues from Paris, such as the complex issue of how countries can work together to reduce emissions. It may not sound like much, but the fact that countries have agreed on a set of rules that will ensure real emissions reductions around the world is really important.
In short, Cop has almost brought us closer to being on our way to a 1.5C world. Estimates range from 1.8 ° C to 2.4 ° C. A year ago we were looking north at 3.5C.
The window of opportunity to achieve this is extremely small, but it is still there. The bottom line is this: Seizing the remaining opportunity comes down to the political will to drive internal action at home.
It was very encouraging to see that the world’s two largest sources of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, indicated their intention to work together again to reduce emissions.
And right now, President Biden is pushing for a domestic spending plan that includes $ 550 billion for climate action.
That is the level of commitment that we need to see in developed countries around the world. Of course, not everyone has the purchasing power of America, but we must all do everything in our power to turn ambition into action.
Here at Aotearoa, we intend to lead by example and show the world what meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate action looks like.
Ahead of Cop26, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and I announced an updated nationally determined contribution target to halve the emissions New Zealand is responsible for by 2030. Achieving that target will require many changes, big and small. small, which together over time will add to a better and cleaner future.
Those changes will be felt across the political and economic spectrum: in energy, transportation, waste, agriculture, construction, and financial services. That is why we are taking a “whole of government” approach to climate action which means, in my opinion, every minister is now a climate minister.
And there is no part of our country, no company, no community, no family, whose future does not depend in some way on the decisions we make in the next decade.
Therefore, it is critical that we ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind. We will only have succeeded in our mission if we move towards a low-carbon future in a way that also helps undo existing patterns of inequality.
Our next steps to address climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand will build on the achievements we have already recorded. In recent years, we have passed laws to require all publicly traded companies and large financial institutions to report their climate-related risks.
We have upgraded schools, hospitals, universities, and businesses to run on clean energy instead of dirty coal. And we’ve made it easier for families to buy low-emission vehicles.
But is that enough? Not even close. We have a long way to go, but we know where we have to go. The same goes for countries around the world. After the agreements reached at Cop26 and the established frameworks, there is no more room for excuses. It is time to act.
As I said in New Zealand’s national declaration in Glasgow, since we collectively recognized the need to start reducing emissions 30 years ago, the world has only managed to double the amount of carbon dioxide that we have put into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial Revolution. .
And in all that time, our political leaders knew what was unfolding: the science has been clear for a long time. They had a chance to stop him, but they didn’t.
And so it’s up to us, right here, right now.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism