Let us remember the COP 21 in Paris in 2015, its closing clap on a beautiful photo of all smiles, happy with the work accomplished and satisfied with the result. Nations then discovered their leaders united as one man and raised fists symbolizing their determination to fight against global warming within the Paris Agreement. Five years later and as COP 26 looms in Glasgow at the end of the year, what remains of all the commitments and all the promises? Where are we ? Are the results of the signatory countries up to the threats that lie in wait for us and the hopes they have raised around the world?
Unfortunately no. And far from it.
The Agreement provided that by December 31, 2020, signatory countries were to return their “NDC”, otherwise known as their Nationally Determined Contribution. Remember that the agreement provided for a commitment to limit warming to + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, and if possible to +1.5 ° C.
Finally, the results obtained to date are extremely disappointing and far removed from the objectives set. 75 countries (including EU members) reported their results, which represents barely 30% of global emissions. And even more serious, this is equivalent to less than 1% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2010. When we know that the UN climate experts have recommended 45% to be able to stay below 1.5 ° These are essential, we understand why the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, loses his temper and sounds the alarm.
He urged all member countries to redouble their efforts to put into practice what has been decided. And without delay. It is according to him a planetary emergency and to insist more particularly with the countries the biggest polluters like China and the United States. With regard to these two nations precisely, we must, of course, welcome the attitude of the Chinese leaders who have committed themselves to carbon neutrality by 2060, even if we would have liked more rapid results. We can also welcome the return of the United States to the agreement. Joe Biden has kept one of his campaign promises by returning America to the essential role that Donal Trump lost it for four years. When Trump was betting everything on fossil energy and industries to restore the economic power of his country, Biden, meanwhile, bet on the ecological transition to support an American economy based on innovation.
However, a college of goodwill and statements of good intentions will not be enough to get us out of business. This is in essence what Antonio Guterres declared: “In 2021, it passes or it breaks for the global climate emergency. The science is clear, to limit the rise in temperatures to 1.5 ° C, we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010. ”
We may, moreover, be surprised at the slowness of a large majority of nations in deciding the necessary measures and in taking the urgency of the moment seriously. Certainly, some countries are doing better than others, like the United Kingdom, Argentina and a few EU countries, but overall, we are very far from the mark. During a press conference, Patricia Espinosa, UN climate manager was annoyed and could not help recalling the worrying number of bad students in their responsibilities: “It's incredible to think that 'as nations face an emergency that could ultimately eradicate human life on this planet, and despite all the studies, reports and warnings from scientists around the world, many countries are sticking to it to their standstill approach ".
All of this is all the more alarming as the past years have witnessed a growing number of extreme climatic phenomena; heat waves followed storms and droughts followed floods. At the same time, accentuating the fragility of the most precarious nations.
Added to this is the global pandemic due to Covid 19. Many countries have advanced the virus argument to explain the delay in meeting their commitments. This can be conceived to a certain extent, but cannot be a valid and sufficient reason to stop the one machine that will save humanity. "The climate emergency did not stop for the pandemic and it will not go away because there is another emergency" , insists Patricia Espinosa.
Let us now hope that COP 26 will also end with a beautiful photo and that the smiles of satisfaction will give way to concrete, rapid and quantifiable actions. It is for the survival of all of us.