Pressure and concern are mounting as the COP 26 deadline draws closer next November. Indeed, the figures are not good and the commitments are far, far from being fulfilled.
Once again, alarmist statements come to us from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who said last Friday that "the world is on a catastrophic path" . Why such a statement?
Due to the report issued by the UN yesterday, assessing the national commitments of 191 countries. The conclusion is rather cold in the back. It would seem that the world is heading more towards global warming of the order of + 2.7 ° C while, let us remember, the Paris Agreement aims to limit this warming to well below + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, if possible + 1.5 ° C,
Antonio Guterres once again called on all the signatory countries to redouble their efforts to propose commitments that are far more ambitious than those currently being achieved. According to him, we are very far from the mark and time is running out. Each day lost brings us closer to failure and he insisted that "failure to meet this objective will be measured by the number of deaths and means of subsistence destroyed".
To be in line with the Paris Agreement, each country was to revise, by the end of 2020, its “ Nationally Determined Contribution ” (NDC). But as of July 30, only 113 countries representing less than half of global greenhouse gas emissions (49%) had actually submitted their revised commitments. With these new promises, the emissions of this group of 113 countries, including the United States and the EU, would be reduced by 12% in 2030 compared to 2010. A " ray of hope " which does not however overshadow the “ dark ” side of this picture, noted the UN climate manager Patricia Espinosa. “ Overall, the greenhouse gas emissions figures are heading in the wrong direction, ” she lamented.
If we take into account all the NDCs - revised or not - of the 191 signatory countries, a 16% increase in emissions should occur in 2030 compared to 2010. However, the urgency is to reduce them by 40 % by 2030 to stay below 1.5 ° C or 25% for 2 ° C. A "considerable" increase for Madame Espinosa which "could lead to a rise in temperature of around 2.7 ° C by the end of the century" when we know that each additional fraction of a degree significantly increases the risks of dramatic consequences.
This latest news comes against a backdrop of deep warnings and apocalyptic outlook to say the least, judging from the latest IPCC report released just a few weeks ago.
It is therefore little to say that all eyes will be on the next COP 26 and what will emerge must necessarily be up to what the future seems to have in store for us if humanity maintains the current course. Patricia Espinosa therefore urged States to negotiate by being " driven not only by the legitimate desire to protect their national interest but also by the objective of contributing to the well-being of humanity ".
At the same time, Alok Sharma, president of the COP26, declared that "without the action of all countries, and in particular of the largest economies, efforts risk being in vain" . A message relayed by US President Joe Biden: “We must act, all of us, we must act now. For those who have not, time is running out, ” he added, calling for “ greater ” ambition.
The United States, which has produced the largest share of global emissions since the start of the industrial era, has pledged to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent by the end of this decade compared to 2005, a objective which is far from the commitments of the European Union and Great Britain.
But that is already proving difficult, especially politically, and it remains to be seen whether Mr Biden will be able to persuade members of Congress to back major climate legislation before heading to international climate negotiations in November. .
At the White House meeting on Friday, known as the Forum of Large Economies on Energy and Climate, Mr Biden pleaded with the leaders of nine countries and the European Commission to act faster and more effectively. aggressively to reduce greenhouse gases. He also announced that the United States and Europe have pledged to help reduce methane emissions by 30% globally by 2030 and called on other countries to join the effort. Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide.
“I have to tell you the consequences of inaction,” Biden said.
Highlighting recent extreme weather events including hurricanes, floods and forest fires across the country, floods in Germany and Belgium, raging fires in Australia and Russia and record temperature in the Arctic Circle Mr. Biden told executives, “We don't have a lot of time. "
"Now science is screaming from the rooftops that it is time to step up actions in an order of magnitude sufficient to meet the challenge," said Christiana Figueres, former director of the United Nations climate agency, in a statement. “All other geopolitical issues will become trivial if we fail to meet the existential challenge of climate change. "
All the actors who campaign in favor of the climate have, of course, their eyes fixed on the great powers, and more particularly China, which has chosen to postpone its carbon neutrality deadline by 10 years compared to the rest of the world, with a peak emissions forecast for 2030. A country that accounts for a quarter of global CO2 emissions. There are also Saudi Arabia and India, two large economies that have a significant climate footprint. Brazil, Mexico and Russia have submitted new commitments that have lower emissions targets than their previous ones . Beyond these nations with distant or uncertain objectives, there remain the other G20 countries which, so far and despite the fine declarations of intentions, have hardly shone by their results.
An observation that made both the president of the Least Developed Countries group, Sonam P. Wangdi, say " It is high time that they were up to the task and that they treat this crisis as a crisis " but also to Mohamed Adow, of the Power Shift Africa think-tank: "these countries have provoked this crisis and despite everything, fail to show the necessary leadership to get us out of this mess "
The responsibility of large economies is very often highlighted and is one of the recurring tensions on the climate diplomatic scene, as is the issue of financial aid. The countries of the North pledged in 2009 to increase climate assistance to the countries of the South to 100 billion dollars per year by 2020. However, according to OECD figures released on Friday, this aid amounted to 79.6 billion in 2019. Antonio Guterres did not hide his concern about the delay.
“The fight against climate change will only be a success if everyone unites for more ambition, cooperation and credibility,” he said. "It is time for leaders to take a stand and keep their promises, or people in all countries will pay the price."