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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Glasgow summit: hits and misses from COP26 climate meet

Here are some of the highlights from the 26th edition of United Nations Climate Change conference in Scotland.

By: Express Web Desk |
Updated: November 12, 2021 3:31:27 pm
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaks at the Opening Ceremony for Cop26 at the SEC Glasgow. Photograph: Karwai Tang/ UK Government

As the Glasgow climate conference draws to a close, there is much debate about the success of the 26th edition of United Nations Climate Change, popularly known as COP26.

After nearly two weeks, the nearly 200 countries represented at the summit remain at odds over a range of issues from how rich nations should compensate poor ones for damage caused by climate-driven disasters to how often nations should be required to update their emissions pledges.

Alok Sharma, the British leader serving as the president of the summit, said that there is a lot more work to be done. Meanwhile, Dubai announced that UAE will be hosting COP28 climate conference in 2023. The 2022 COP will be hosted by another Middle-Eastern country, namely Egypt.

The core aim of the COP26 conference was to keep alive the 2015 Paris Agreement’s aspirational target to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But under countries’ current pledges to cut emissions this decade, researchers say the world would hit levels of global warming far beyond that limit, unleashing catastrophic sea level rises, floods and droughts.

Here are some of the hits and misses at the conference:

India’s announcement to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2070

India pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070. The statement was delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made five major announcements at Glasgow. These are: a) India will produce 500 GW of non-fossil fuel energy by 2030, b) India will have 50 per cent renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030, c) India will reduce its emissions intensity from 35 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030, d) reduce India’s carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.

China, US announce plan to work together to cut down methane emissions

In an unexpected bilateral agreement between US and China, Beijing has promised to finalise a plan to reduce its methane emissions this decade. China had stayed away from a pledge that over 100 other countries had made last week — to make 30 per cent cut in methane emissions from current levels by 2030. US was part of that pledge. In the bilateral agreement, China has not taken any targets on methane emission cuts but only said it would work towards reducing it. But that is still being seen as a forward movement, considering that China is one of the biggest emitters of methane.

Africa, India call for $1.3 tn per year in climate finance from rich nations

While developed countries have failed to put together even the $100 billion per year in climate financing as promised, African nations and some other developing countries, including India, have put a figure on the enhanced flow of finance that the developed world must deliver in the coming years — at least $1.3 trillion per year from 2030.

COP26 Glasgow climate change conference india modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the opening ceremony of the COP26 conference in Glasgow last week. (AP)

A group of 24 nations that call themselves Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), as well as countries from Africa, on Monday evening put forward this demand in a proposal for enhanced finance flows that they are pushing for inclusion in the final decisions that will be agreed at the climate conference in Glasgow. India is part of the LMDC grouping along with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and others.

Climate talks back off from call to end all coal use

Negotiators at this year’s UN climate talks in Glasgow appeared to be backing away from a call to end all use of coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies completely. The latest draft proposal from the meeting’s chair released Friday calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”

Tuvalu minister stands in sea to film COP26 speech to show climate change

Tuvalu’s foreign minister has given a speech to the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow standing knee-deep in seawater to show how his low-lying Pacific island nation is on the front line of climate change.

Tuvalu's Minister for Justice, Communication & Foreign Affairs Simon Kofe gives a COP26 statement while standing in the ocean in Funafuti Tuvalu’s Minister for Justice, Communication & Foreign Affairs Simon Kofe gives a COP26 statement while standing in the ocean in Funafuti, Tuvalu November 5, 2021. (Tuvalu’s Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs / Social Media via Reuters)

Images of Simon Kofe standing in a suit and tie at a lectern set up in the sea, with his trouser legs rolled up, have been shared widely on social media, drawing attention to Tuvalu’s struggle against rising sea levels.

More than 40 nations pledge to cut emissions from their health industries

More than 40 countries have pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions across their health systems, World Health Organisation officials said late Monday, representing the largest global effort to date to try to reduce contributions by the world’s hospitals and health care industry to global warming. The health care sector accounts for almost 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. If it were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter

China targets 1.8 per cent cut in average coal use at power plants by 2025

China flagged on Wednesday it is targetting a 1.8 per cent reduction in average coal use for electricity generation at power plants over the next five years, in a bid to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The target, announced by China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), comes as the world’s top climate negotiators have gathered in Scotland for the COP26 climate talks. Average coal use for electricity generation in China fell by about 17.4 per cent in the 15 years till 2020.

Nearly 90 countries join pact to slash planet-warming methane emissions

Nearly 90 countries have joined a US- and EU-led effort to slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels, a pact aimed at tackling one of the main causes of climate change, a senior Biden administration official said. The partnership will be formally launched later on Tuesday.

Methane is the main greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. It has a higher heat-trapping potential than CO2 but breaks down in the atmosphere faster – meaning that cutting methane emissions can have a rapid impact on reining in global warming.

Over 100 global leaders pledge to end deforestation by 2030

More than 100 global leaders late on Monday pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

The joint statement at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow was backed by the leaders of countries including Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively account for 85% of the world’s forests.

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