COP 26: it will be held in a little less than 100 days now. What should we remain vigilant about until the Glasgow climate summit is held?
In just under 100 days now, the United Nations climate summit, COP26, will begin in Glasgow. The two-week conference is a unique moment: bringing together nearly 200 world leaders and 20,000 delegates as well as thousands of activists, businesses, NGOs and religious groups, to find out how to reverse the trend in gas emissions greenhouse effect which are the cause of global warming in a context of ever more severe climatic episodes. "On the climate, cooperation is the only way to break free from the world's current mutual suicide pact ," John Kerry, the president's special climate envoy, said during a speech in London. The next 100 days could "save many lives [and] trillions of dollars," he later told Channel 4 News. Countries must reduce their emissions, quickly and drastically, to maintain the limit of the 1.5 ° C global temperature increase (above pre-industrial levels) that is altering our earth and thus avoid even more deadly consequences. . The world is currently warming around 1C. Although a global target of net zero emissions has been set for 2050, much larger reductions are needed over the next decade. And if the Glasgow negotiations are numerous, the last few months are also crucial for progress. "At 100 days of the day, it's time to sprint if we are to make COP26 a success ," Yamide Dagnet, director of climate negotiations at the World Resources Institute, told The Independent. Here are some of the crucial questions to be found on the way to Glasgow.
Reduce the gap to 1.5 ° C
The 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by almost all the countries, was a promise to keep the global temperature within "safe" limits, the 1.5C which, over time, proves to be more and more ambitious. or “well below” 2C. The currently proposed emission cuts are not strong enough to meet this deal, and Glasgow is the first time nations will be asked to increase their targets and close the gap.
July 31 is the deadline for the last "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs) - each country's commitment going forward to reduce its emissions. Ms Dagnet, who has spent two decades working on environmental targets for the UK, French and Belgian governments, noted that some may skip the July deadline and use other forums. But the UN General Assembly in September would really be the last time to make an announcement before COP26, she said. “We would like to see signals from major emitters, like China, Indonesia, Australia and many other major economies, of more ambitious plans. And while long-term strategies can be aligned to 1.5 ° C, short-term plans must also be aligned, ” she said. South Africa, shaken by recent political unrest and riots, could also come up with a more ambitious NDC at a later time, the climate expert added. “We understand that South Africa is considering stepping up its ambition, but due to the crisis it is a question of whether it will be able to meet the deadline or not,” she said. “There are still around 100 NDCs missing, so we hope that many of them will meet the July 31 deadline. But the ultimate moment will be the United Nations General Assembly, you cannot play with that. According to the most recent scientific analysis by Climate Action Tracker, current emissions commitments put the world on track to an estimated 2.4 ° C global warming by 2100, well above the limits of the Paris Agreement. “The situation is that we have let it drag on too much,” Sir David King, former chief science adviser to the UK government and chairman of the newly formed International Climate Crisis Advisory Group, told The Independent. He highlighted the string of extreme events that have unfolded around the world, from devastating floods in Europe, China and India to deadly heat waves in the western United States and Canada. “All of these events can be directly linked to what happened in the Arctic region. [It] has warmed up considerably and is much warmer than the rest of the planet, ” said Sir David. This rapid heating has "seriously distorted" the jet stream. “The result is that the weather systems of the world have produced a great deal of extreme models. It's direct causation , ”he said. Sir David said there is an urgent need to "stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible" and for governments to move much faster, for example with more production of electric vehicles, so that communities do not suffer. of the transition to a clean economy. “Considering the amounts of greenhouse gases that we have already put into the atmosphere to date, the situation is far too serious for us to really consider that the future of our civilization is secure even if we were to reduce emissions to net zero tomorrow, ” he added.
Expect to see more pressure on the fossil fuel industry on the eve of COP26.
The UK government has already said industry sponsorship is unwelcome at the climate summit. Meanwhile, climate activist groups such as 350.org and Stop the Money Pipeline are increasing the pressure with campaigns like "Deadline Glasgow" to hold world leaders and the fossil fuel industry to account.
A busy calendar of international events is still current and they must take place before the November summit. There is also a Youth Summit, the United Nations Annual General Assembly in New York in September and the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity a month later in Kunming, China, to name just a few high-level discussions. level.
The COP also has a “pre-COP” for last minute preparations. It is scheduled to be held in Milan at the beginning of October. Ms Dagnet said recent extreme weather conditions and record high temperatures, especially in North America and Europe, could "demonstrate a shift in mindset to take this absolutely seriously." But after a disappointing G7 summit - where the group of big polluters failed to agree on an end date for coal use - skepticism abounds, especially over what the UK can provide as a COP host. “It is concerning that at just 100 days from COP 26, we are not seeing the kind of leadership we would expect from Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister of the host country and Rishi Sunak, who are conspicuously absent on politics. climate, ” said Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid, in a statement. “We need them to be much more present to make sure the UK has a successful summit that will put the world on the path to a secure climate. "
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the body behind the world's most comprehensive scientific report on the climate crisis - is expected to release the first chapter of its sixth three-part assessment (called AR6) on August 9. After rounds of exhaustive peer review and revision, this will be the biggest update on climate science since the last IPCC report in 2014. The first chapter will outline how greenhouse gases (GHGs) cause unprecedented damage, spanning extreme weather conditions, carbon footprint and feedback cycles, as well as mapping the current state of the climate and future scenarios. The second and third chapters - examining our vulnerability to climate impacts and crisis mitigation, respectively - will not be released until 2022, after COP 26. External scientific observers have suggested that the updated report will likely be a big statement. firmer on human influence on the climate system than ever before. Over the past decade, the attribution field of climate science - which examines how (and to what extent) human activities lead to climate change - has grown significantly. AR6 is also expected to take a closer look at the regional repercussions of the climate crisis around the world.
The issue of $ 100 billion climate finance
One of the main priorities of COP 26 is to make people, economies and the environment more resilient and adaptable to the climate crisis. Yet rich countries are still a long way from an annual climate finance target of $ 100 billion as signed (£ 73.4 billion) to help poorest countries with extreme impacts, which are already causing thousands of deaths. , displacement and loss of livelihoods. Mr Kerry said this week that the current sum was "some $ 80 billion" , but insisted the $ 100 billion target would be met because it "has to be there" . UK COP 26 President Alok Sharma also said developed countries will produce a "clear plan" to reach $ 100 billion annually by 2025. Dagnet, for her part, added that he It was a matter of trust for less wealthy and climate-vulnerable nations. “The next IPCC report will only highlight what lies ahead. " She added: " It is a question of confidence, but also of the future, because 100 billion dollars were supposed to be the floor, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. » An increased financial target should be set at COP26. Climate change finance is crucial to tackling the politically thorny issue of 'loss and damage' - reparations for vulnerable countries, many of which are on the front lines of the crisis, which are reaching the limits of poverty. adaptation to disaster. The importance of financial support in increasing the chances of success of the Conference cannot be underestimated. Anna Åberg, of the Energy, Environment and Resources program at Chatham House Institute of Politics, wrote in The Independent that an adviser for climate-vulnerable nations had said that "if the money is not in by November, There is little point in climate-vulnerable nations coming to Glasgow to do business with governments that break their promises ”.
"Localism" and becoming an ally of nature
The final part of the summit aims to draw attention to the climate crisis and galvanize action around the many paths it will take to achieve the net zero emissions goal. Far from the international scene, those working at regional and local levels will strive to show what all these actions look like on the ground and in practice. Ric Casale, co-founder of Carbon Copy, a charity that runs localized climate projects, told The Independent : “The good news is we don't need permission to take the lead on climate change. We are not asking permission from people at the COP. “We clearly need more supportive, top-down policies, but collectively we have enough resources and power to start making things happen - and more so where we live. "A list can be found here on a plethora of projects in what was dubbed the" Race to Zero ". The summit will be accompanied by hundreds of side events in the Green Zone from youth groups, charities, universities, artists and businesses. Glasgow City Council will also have its own reception area. Mr Casale added: 'From my perspective, a bigger story than what's happening nationally in Westminster, and what's going to happen internationally in Glasgow, are all the things that happen in between, in local climate action. People are doing their best with whatever resources they have. ”
COP 26 will also look to a long neglected ally in the fight against the climate crisis: nature itself. Using forests, agriculture and ecosystems to reduce global warming is at the forefront of the plans of many NGOs and conservation groups - and the business sector is increasingly partnering with innovations ranging from algae to restoring coral reefs. It is believed that "nature-based solutions" can help meet more than a third of the Paris climate target.
Alok Sharma insisted that COP 26 would take place face-to-face but the pandemic is casting a shadow over the international summit. The UK is offering vaccines to those officially present, who cannot access them in time for the summit. But despite the best-laid plans, there are still many variables to contend with. The constantly evolving and often confusing Covid travel rules will make traveling to Scotland complicated.
Meanwhile, the emergence of new Covid variants and the increase in the number of cases in the UK are cause for concern. There is a great reluctance to organize a “mini-COP” and to make certain parts of it virtual, in particular for the poorest countries whose less reliable Internet access would immediately disadvantage them. Small nations are also coming together in blocs to create leverage against powerful participants like the US, EU and China. And the strength of the World Climate Summit lies in the countless face-to-face meetings between delegates from different countries who will work out much of the details of the agreements behind the scenes.