New Delhi: The United Nations climate summit that begins in Glasgow on Sunday could be humanity’s last chance to tackle catastrophic changes from rampant global warming, scientists and activists have said.
Under current national climate commitments, the world is on track for a 2.7 degree Celsius temperature rise by the turn of the century, the United Nations Environment Program warned on October 25. , which is well above the 2015 Paris Agreement target of keeping it below 2 degrees compared to the start of the industrial age.
Unless countries agree to sharply cut carbon emissions, global temperatures will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next 10 to 20 years from pre-industrial times, the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, the world’s largest group of climate experts, in its scientific assessment in August.
Scientists, activists and environmentalists believe the Glasgow summit, also known as COP26, could be the last opportunity to keep global warming within agreed limits.
More than 25,000 delegates are expected in Glasgow for the climate talks. While one of the main goals is to maintain the 1.5-degree target, countries will need to negotiate and agree on several critical issues such as carbon markets, loss and damage, and long-term climate finance. .
At the previous conference held in Madrid in 2019, countries failed to come to an agreement on new market mechanisms. Several other issues were also left unresolved, including common deadlines for the implementation of voluntary national commitments, long-term climate finance and transparency in climate action, all of which will need to be resolved at COP26.
“I really want to help the Parties (nations) answer the questions you told me to be key political elements of a Glasgow outcome,” wrote Alok Sharma, COP26 president and UK parliamentarian, in a note on October 28.
COP26 begins with the World Leaders’ Summit on November 1-2, which will be attended by over 120 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Usually, the leaders’ summit is held in the second week of the annual talks. World leaders are expected to set the tone this time at COP26 and declare their intention to contain global warming even before negotiations begin.
At the Rome summit of the G20 countries held on October 30 and 31, the climate crisis was high on the agenda. G20 leaders, including Modi, are expected to reach consensus on how to deal with the crisis and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“This time, world leaders will be setting the agenda for COP26, which is a positive development,” Sunita Narain, executive director of the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) advocacy group, told a conference Press. “Over the past decades, climate negotiations have gone nowhere. COP26 must regain its leadership and the trust of people around the world, rich and poor. He should not be lost in the usual procrastination in negotiations and temper tantrums and postures of cowardly leaders. “
For India, the two critical issues are climate finance and carbon markets. India is seeking a level playing field for all countries by pushing for climate finance and technology transfer, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, who is the head of the Indian delegation, told HT in a statement. interview October 29.
Carbon markets are essential for India because trade can lead to both reduced carbon dioxide emissions and can generate climate finance, he said.
Carbon markets are touted as one of the most effective tools to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees by capping global emissions globally after 2020. Simply put, when a country limits carbon emissions through a project it creates carbon credits, which can be sold to another country that does not meet its target.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries will have to come up with a new market mechanism, but there are dead ends on various issues. For example, India wants unused carbon credits from the Kyoto Protocol era to be recognized and traded, while experts in the developed world have expressed concern that these credits could flood and ruin the new market even before they are released. ‘it doesn’t start to work.
Climate finance is the other contentious issue that should feature prominently at the Glasgow summit. According to the Standing Committee on Finance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing countries need nearly $ 6 trillion by 2030 to implement their national commitments. The highly anticipated climate finance plan released last week said developed countries are unlikely to be able to raise the pledged $ 100 billion a year until 2023, three years behind schedule. 2020 deadline initially promised.
In 2009, at the Copenhagen summit, the rich countries promised to jointly mobilize 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to meet the needs of developing countries. If even that sum is not mobilized on time, how will climate finance be increased over time, ask the experts.
“We are asking for transparent and verified financial transfers,” the CSE said in its agenda for India. “The increased funds are crucial, but there must be a clear measurement and assessment of the reality of the funds and what they are intended for,” he said.
“A positive outcome at COP26 will be a balanced package of measures aimed at rapidly reducing emissions during this decade and urgently increasing funding to adapt to climate impacts. Developed countries must reassure developing countries that they will close the climate finance gap and set themselves an ambitious new target. Finalizing carbon trading rules will help create a common currency that will allow Indian industry to link efforts to international markets and lower the cost of reducing emissions, ”said Ulka Kelkar, Economist and Director, Climate at the World Resources Institute.