By Christian Downie, Australian National University of Canberra, October 25 (The Conversation) In a week’s time, a crucial round of UN climate change negotiations will begin in Glasgow and the stakes could not be higher. In the end, we will know how far nations are willing to go to meet mankind’s greatest challenge.
So, is COP26 on the road to success? There are reasons to be hopeful.
More than 100 countries, including China, the United States and the United Kingdom, have already committed to the goal of net zero emissions. Globally, renewables are booming, the tide is turning against fossil fuels, and the economic costs of not addressing climate change are becoming increasingly evident.
But if history has taught us anything, no country at the top will agree to do more about climate change than it thinks it can do at home. In other words, domestic policy is the engine of international negotiations.
What will happen in Glasgow? The first COP, or Conference of the Parties, was held in Berlin in 1995. About a quarter of a century later, it will meet for the 26th time.
COP26 will determine the orientation of key aspects of the fight against global warming. The main one is to know to what extent countries have implemented their commitments under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 â, and to what extent they will increase this ambition.
Other issues on the agenda include climate finance for developing countries, adaptation to climate change and carbon trading rules.
From October 31, hundreds of government delegates will participate in two weeks of complex and intense negotiations on the specific text of the agreement.
Typically, what delegates cannot resolve is left to political leaders, who negotiate the thorniest issues. Historically, the final chord occurs in the wee hours of the final session.
Outside the convention center is the unofficial COP, which looks more like a global climate exhibition. Thousands of representatives from business, civil society and beyond – from bankers and billionaires to students and survivors – come together for panel discussions, exhibitions and protests.
Progress is slow Global climate talks involve people from all over the world with different interests, preferences and mandates (what negotiators sometimes call âred linesâ). As you can imagine, progress can be slow.
Nearly 200 countries have signed the Paris Agreement and the agreement is made by consensus. This means that a single country can delay progress for hours or even days.
Cynics – most often those who want to delay climate action – claim that the whole process is nothing more than talk.
It’s true, the conversation is slow. But it is also much better than coercion, and without negotiations countries would face much less pressure to act. It is also true that over the past 25 years these negotiations have redefined the way the world thinks and acts on climate change.
After all, it was the COP in Paris that tasked the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to deliver a special report on the impacts of global warming 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. His discoveries have traveled the world.
He revealed that if we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030, reaching near zero by 2050.
But since the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, global emissions have continued to rise, even with the impacts of COVID-19. COP26 is a major test of whether the world can turn the tide and prevent uncontrollable global warming.
Will Glasgow deliver? For the Glasgow summit to be considered a success, there are a few things that need to move forward. First, countries must commit not only to achieving net zero goals by 2050, but more stringent goals for 2030. Without them, there is no way the world will keep rising temperatures. world to 2 degrees Celsius.
Major emitters will also need to support developing countries with the necessary finance and technology to enable them to switch to clean energy and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including severe flooding and prolonged droughts.
Other issues, such as rules for international carbon markets, will also be on the agenda, but even the most robust carbon markets are unlikely to reduce emissions at the speed scientists believe are necessary to reduce emissions. avoid disaster.
There are signs of hope. The United States has historically been the most important player in international negotiations, and President Joe Biden presented the most ambitious climate plans in the country’s history ahead of the Glasgow summit.
The United States, along with the United Kingdom, the European Union and a host of small countries, including those in the Pacific, form a strong and influential coalition of countries trying to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
So what stands in their way? Well, what countries are ready to commit to in Glasgow is not so much a function of what happens in Glasgow, but of domestic politics in their capitals.
That’s why Democrats in Washington are working feverishly to get Biden’s massive budget bill, which includes measures like a clean electricity program, through Congress. The bill is central to the president’s commitment to halve emissions by 2030.
It’s also why astute observers have focused on well-known climate laggards heavily reliant on fossil fuels, like Brazil, Russia and Australia, to see if domestic policy developments could lead these countries to commit to the process. more ambitious goals by 2030.
And that’s why lobbyists for industries at risk of losing from climate change – namely oil, gas and coal – know that to kill climate action in Glasgow, they have to kill climate action at home.
International negotiations are often characterized as a two-level game. Changes at the national level may allow further and, hopefully, ambitious realignments at the international level.
Will these realignments occur? We don’t have long to find out, but nationally in many countries, there has never been a worse time to advocate for fossil fuels – and it should give us all hope that the action against climate change is more likely than ever. (The Conversation) AMS AMS
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