Climate Change

COP26 might just end without much to offer

Countries are giving their status in the informal stocktaking plenary, indicating at an impasse

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 12 November 2021

India has expressed ‘deep disappointment’ on the issue of climate finance at the informal stocktaking plenary underway just before the official end of the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Glasgow, Scotland November 12,2021.

The Indian negotiator speaking at the plenary said developed countries had not met the promise of $100bn a year in climate finance for poorer countries by 2020.

India has asked developed countries to take a lead in phasing out all fossil fuels. The first and foremost right over the remaining carbon budget is for the developing countries.

India’s discontent is a sign of the impasse over who does what and who takes how much of the responsibilities that prevails as CoP26 draws to a close.

John Kerry, US climate envoy said at the plenary:

We are the largest oil and gas producer in the world and we have some of those subsidies. We are struggling for money, but $2.5 trillion in the last five years, six years, went into fossil fuel. That is the definition of insanity — we are there feeding the very problem we are trying to solve here.

Kerry, in his speech to the plenary, seemed to have defended the inclusion of terms ‘unabated coal power’ and ‘inefficient fossil fuel subsidies’ to the draft agreement. Developing countries are opposed to it.

It was clear from the start of the last day of CoP26 that countries’ commitment on emission reduction would not match the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Antonio Guterres bluntly told the media: “The goal (Paris Agreement one) is on life support.” He reacted on the basis of current commitments being made by countries in CoP26.

Global emissions have to be cut 45 per cent by 2030 and to zero overall by 2050 to achieve the Paris goal.

Non-profit Climate Action Tracker (CAN) has released its latest assessment that forecasts that the promises made on emission reduction by countries now will still lead to 2.4°C of global warming, which by any scientific analysis, is a catastrophic situation.

CAN said in Glasgow’s 2030 Credibility Gap:

Policy implementation on the ground is advancing at snail’s pace. Under current policies, we estimate end-of-century warming to be 2.7°C. While this temperature estimate has fallen since our September 2020 assessment, major new policy developments are not the driving factor. We need to see a profound effort in all sectors, in this decade, to decarbonise the world to be in line with 1.5°C.

The Guardian has quoted three climate negotiators — Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief, Laurence Tubiana, a French diplomat and Laurent Fabius, the former French foreign minister who are known as the architects of the Paris Agreement — stating that CoP26 has already missed commitments and countries should come back to next year’s CoP in Egypt with new plans.

Some 140 countries covering 90 per cent of current global emissions have promised net zero targets according to CAN:

While these targets are an important signal and some have accelerated governments’ climate action, the quality of most remains questionable. If all the announced net zero commitments or targets under discussion are implemented, this would bring our temperature estimate for this “optimistic scenario” down to 1.8°C by 2100, with peak warming of 1.9°C.

But its assessment of 40 countries shows that “only six per cent of global emissions are covered by targets with an “acceptable” net zero rating for target comprehensiveness.”

Alok Sharma, the CoP President, said while winding up the progress November 11:

As I speak, my ministerial co-facilitators, other ministers and negotiators are rolling up their sleeves and working hard to find solutions to some of the most intractable issues.

He added: “Solutions which have so far evaded us for six years.”

As things stand today, another year will now be added to this search for an elusive solution.

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