6 takeaways from COP26, the United Nations Climate Summit

Before starting, the United Nations Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, known as COP26, was touted by its chief organizer as the “last and...


Before starting, the United Nations Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, known as COP26, was touted by its chief organizer as the “last and best hope” to save the planet.

Midway through, optimistic reviews of its progress noted that heads of state and industry titans came out in force to start the rally with resounding new climate promises, a sign that momentum was building in the right way.

The pessimistic perspective? Gauzy’s promises don’t mean much without concrete plans to follow. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg accused the conference of being made up of a lot of “blah, blah, blah”.

On Saturday, diplomats from nearly 200 countries struck a major deal to step up efforts to tackle climate change, calling on governments to come back next year with firmer plans to reduce their global warming emissions and urging rich countries to “at least double” funding. by 2025 to protect the most vulnerable nations from the vagaries of a hotter planet.

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from the 26th annual United Nations Climate Change Summit.

The agreement established a clear consensus that all nations must do much more, immediately, to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures.

At the opening of the conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, noted the top priority must be to limit the rise in global temperatures to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. This is the threshold, scientists have warned, beyond which the risk of disasters such as deadly heat waves, water shortages and ecosystem collapse increases dramatically. (The world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius.)

“The reality is you have two different truths,” said Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute last week. “We have made a lot more progress than we could ever have imagined a few years ago. But it is still far from sufficient.

The agreement outlines specific actions the world should take, from cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by nearly half by 2030 to reducing emissions of methane, another potent greenhouse gas. And he’s putting new rules in place to hold countries accountable for the progress they make – or fail to make.

Maldives Environment Minister Shauna Aminath said the latest text lacked the “urgency” that vulnerable countries like hers needed. “What seems balanced and pragmatic to other parties will not help the Maldives adapt in time,” she said.

The final deal leaves open the crucial question of how much and how quickly each country should reduce its emissions over the next decade.

Rich countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and much of Western Europe, now make up only 12% of the world’s population, but are responsible for 50% of all greenhouse gases. that warm the planet and that have been emitted by fossil fuels and industry in the past. 170 years old.

President Biden and European leaders have insisted that countries like India, Indonesia and South Africa must accelerate their move away from coal power and other fossil fuels. But these countries retort that they do not have the financial resources to do so and that the rich countries have been stingy with aid.

Ten years ago, the richest economies in the world pledged to mobilize $ 100 billion a year in climate finance for the poorest countries by 2020. But they have fallen. runs tens of billions of dollars a year. The COP26 agreement still leaves many developing countries without the funds they need to build cleaner energy and deal with increasingly extreme weather disasters.

One of the biggest fights at the Glasgow summit has revolved around whether – and how – the richest nations in the world, who are so far disproportionately responsible for global warming, should compensate the poorest nations for damage caused by rising temperatures.

Calls for this fund, an issue called “loss and damage,” are separate from money to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. Loss and damage is a matter of historical responsibility, say its supporters, and would pay for irreparable losses, such as the disappearance of national territory, culture and ecosystems.

The Paris agreement in 2015 called for clearer rules on how to allow polluting companies and countries to buy and trade permits to reduce global emissions, but the extremely dense and technical subjectYou continued as a topic of discussion until Saturday in Glasgow.

Negotiators announced a major deal on how to regulate the rapidly growing global carbon offsets market, in which a company or country offsets its own emissions by paying someone else to cut its own. One of the thorniest technical issues is how to properly account for this global trade so that emission reductions are not overestimated or double-counted.

Vulnerable countries insist that rich countries give them a share of the proceeds of carbon market transactions to help them build resilience to climate change. The United States and the European Union have opposed it, but island nations in particular want a mechanism to ensure that carbon trading leads to an overall reduction in global emissions.

“We want a credible market that will offer emission reductions, not just a free pass for countries to buy cheap credits off the coast to meet their national needs,” said Ian Fry, negotiator for the Solomon Islands. , an archipelago in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. .

  • United States and China: The two countries announced a joint agreement do more to reduce emissions this decade, and China has made a commitment for the first time to develop a plan to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The pact between rivals, who are the world’s two biggest polluters, surprised summit delegates. The deal lacked details and although China agreed to “phase out” coal from 2026, it did not specify by how much or over what period.

  • Deforestation: Leaders from over 100 countries, including Brazil, China, Russia and the United States, pledged to end deforestation by 2030. The agreement covers around 85 percent of the world’s forests, which are crucial for absorbing carbon dioxide and slowing the rate of global warming. Some advocacy groups have criticized the deal as lacking bite, noting that similar efforts have failed in the past.

  • Methane: More than 100 countries have agreed to cut emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by 30% by the end of this decade. The pledge was part of a push by the Biden administration, which also announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would limit methane from about one million oil and gas platforms across the United States.

  • India: India has joined the growing chorus of nations pledging to achieve “net zero“Emissions, set a deadline at 2070 stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. India, one of the world’s largest consumers of coal, has also said it will dramatically increase the share of its total energy mix from renewable sources and that half of its energy will come from sources other than fossil fuels. by 2030.

There was a clear gender and generation gap at the Glasgow talks. Those with the power to make decisions about global warming over the next few decades are mostly men. Those most angry with the pace of climate action are mostly young people and women.

Malik Amin Aslam, adviser to the Pakistani prime minister, scoffed at some of the distant net zero goals announced at the conference, including India’s: “With an average age of 60, I don’t think so. not that anyone in the trading room live to experience that net zero in 2070, ”he said.

On the first day of the conference, Greta Thunberg joined dozens of demonstrators in the streets in front of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow. Throughout the two-week conference, she and other young climate activists, including Vanessa Nakate, Dominika Lasota and Mitzi Tan – have made numerous appearances at protests.

Mrs. Thunberg told the BBC in an interview before the summit that she had not been officially invited to speak. She added that she thought the organizers had not invited many young speakers because they “might be afraid that if they invite too many young ‘radicals’ it might make them look bad,” she said. she stated, using aerial quotes.

The weather Mountain peak, which was delayed last year, is one of the largest international gatherings held during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the summit attendees came from countries where vaccines are still not widely available. Globally, less than half of adults have been vaccinated against Covid-19, illustrating the inequalities of immunization. Travel and quarantine restrictions resulted in additional costs in time and money for accommodation, making travel impossible for some.

And some attendees, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vladimir V. Putin from Russia and Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil, decided not to travel at all.

Midway through, conference organizers issued a letter of apology to attendees for the long lines and video difficulties, saying planning around the Covid restrictions has been difficult. Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the United Nations climate body, called on attendees to “stand with us” as organizers grapple with complex arrangements, such as making sure everyone who enters the site are tested negative for the coronavirus and impose checks on the number of people in meeting rooms.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 6 takeaways from COP26, the United Nations Climate Summit
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