COP26’s 200 or more countries adopted an agreement on Saturday to accelerate the fight against global warming, but did not respond to calls for help from poor countries without guaranteeing it would reach its target of 1.5 ° C.
The UN boss himself pointed out the weaknesses of the “Glasgow Accord”, warning that “climate catastrophe is still knocking” and that “political will” has failed to overcome “conflicts” between countries.
The text was adopted after two weeks of negotiations, such as the last-minute introduction to the issue of fossil fuels at the request of China and India.
Alok Sharma, the British president of this 26th World Climate Conference, said before approving the adoption with a hammer that he was “deeply sorry” for the decision, with a tear in his eye. He had previously estimated that the deal “launches a growing ambition in a decade” in the climate sector.
“We have always known that Glasgow is not the end line,” said US Ambassador John Kerry.
The text calls on member states to continue increasing their reduction obligations when the planet is on the UN’s “catastrophic” path of 2.7 ° C warming, compared to the pre-industrial period, at a critical point in temperature control. Provided in the Paris Agreement beginning in 2022.
But the possibility of adjustment in “specific national circumstances” raised criticism from NGOs over the real intentions of the text.
Furthermore, the compromise found did not guarantee compliance with the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement: warming should be “well” controlled to 2 ° C and possible to 1.5 ° C.
But it also gives the British president a chance to show victory at Glasgow’s goal of “keeping 1.5 alive”. The catastrophes associated with climate change are already on the rise: experts continue to warn that floods, droughts or heat waves can cause “one-tenth of a degree” with their helper damage and casualties.
– “It’s soft” –
“It’s soft, it’s weak, and the 1.5 ° C target is not alive, but there’s a signal that the coal age is over. It’s important,” Greenpeace International boss Jennifer Morgan challenged.
The text also mentions the main cause of global warming and the fossil fuels not even mentioned in the Paris Agreement.
At the urging of China and India in particular, the focus was on the versions of these words, until the last minute before they were fully accepted. The final version calls for “accelerating efforts to reduce coal without (CO2) capture methods and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”. Here again, there is a reference to “special national circumstances”.
A “bitter pill to swallow”, but accepted “for the public good”, Lichtenstein’s representative regretted, summarizing several of the delegates’ interventions.
The explosive problem of aid to poor countries, which at one time seemed to derail negotiations, has not found a solution.
Fearing the unfulfilled promise of the super-rich to increase their climate aid to $ 100 billion a year in the south from 2020, the poorest nations, which are the least responsible for global warming, are at the forefront of countering its impacts. They are asking for specific funding for the “loss and damage” they have already suffered.
– “Bla Bla Bla Bla” –
But developed countries, primarily the United States, have strongly opposed the move, fearing legal repercussions.
And reluctantly, the poorer countries accepted the continuation of the dialogue so as not to miss the progress of the struggle against global warming, the consequences of which are already directly threatening them. When you say “very disappointed”.
“It’s a shame for millions of people affected by the climate crisis,” commented Theresa Anderson, a volunteer at ActionAid International.
The face of the global youth climate movement, Greta Dunberg, was very brief, calling COP26 “Blah Blah Blah” again. “The real work continues outside of these rooms. We will never give up,” he promised on Twitter.