COP26: Climate commitments are inconsistent with policies or consumer behavior

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Yves is here The media has published too many reports about COP26’s “hope to change”, or those that are correct but usually focus on certain flaws. For example, the U.S. immediately after the meeting is inconsistent with the promises it made. Action. This article explains more fully the deficiencies of COP26.

Reynard Loki’s writing researcher Independent Media Academy, Where he served as editor and chief reporter Earth | Food | LifeHe previously worked as an environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet, and as a reporter at Justmeans/3BL Media, reporting on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Depend on. . .Production Earth | Food | Life, A project of the Independent Media Research Institute

During the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, after more than two weeks of negotiations, diplomats from nearly 200 countries finally reached agreement on two major points: intensify efforts to combat climate change and help countries at risk to prepare .Specifically, governments agreed to meet again The next one has a stronger plan in 2022 Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030, Significantly reduce methane emissions (its global warming potential is even greater than carbon dioxide), and nearly double aid to poor countries to help them reduce the impact of climate change. It is worth noting that countries have agreed to start reducing coal-fired power generation and begin to reduce government subsidies for other fossil fuels. This is the first time that the COP text mentions coal and fossil fuels.

Alok Sharma, the main organizer of COP26, Call The Glasgow Climate Convention is a “fragile victory”.

The US climate envoy John Kerry acknowledged that the agreement is not perfect and expressed support. “You can’t let perfection be a good enemy, that’s good. This is a powerful statement,” he Said“We in the United States are very excited about the fact that this has raised ambitions on a global scale.”

Although the agreement is a step forward, it has been severely criticized by scientists, climate activists, and representatives from small and poor countries, who will feel the impact of climate impact earlier than large and rich countries.

Shauna Aminath, Minister of Environment of the Maldives, condemn COP26’s final agreement “does not meet the required urgency and scale.”The Maldives has supported life and human civilization for thousands of years, but 80% of the low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean are Will be uninhabitable by 2050 The sea level has risen due to global warming. “In other respects, a balanced and pragmatic approach does not help the Maldives to adapt in time,” Aminat Said“It’s too late for the Maldives.”

“COP26 narrowed the gap, but it did not solve the problem,” Said Niklas Hoehne is a climate policy expert at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Long before the annual climate chinwag, people thought of what we called “Last and best opportunity“To create a livable environment for future generations. How could it not be the leader? more Since the beginning of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations 25 years ago, more than 150 countries have been working hard to reduce human emissions to global warming. Since the first summit was held in 1995, On the contrary, global emissions have soared.

The host of the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson-he and activists quoted this mantra “Keep 1.5 alive“——Not interested in his guests, Say During the G20 summit (held in Rome a few days before COP26), all world leaders’ pledges of inaction “sounded hollow at first” and criticized their weak pledges as “a drop of water in a rapidly warming ocean”.

Science has set a deadline for us. In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels (the limit determined by the Paris Agreement), humans must achieve “net zero” emissions by 2050 (that is, any amount we emit into the atmosphere, we must also remove ). But this goal seems unlikely. Powerful polluting countries such as the United States, China, and Russia not only continue to burn fossil fuels at an alarming rate, but they also continue to drill for more oil.China, the world’s largest emitter, is responsible for More than a quarter of total human emissions——Russia has push Their own net zero goal by 2060.India has push By 2070. This is driving climate change in this area and will be handled by future leaders. (Quickly browse a Graphics created by The Economist It may be foolish to show that China must experience a rapid and dramatic decline in emissions in order to achieve its goals, and to emphasize the importance of winning the war against the climate crisis. )

In the United States, a divided country has rigidified a rigid legislature, and it has not passed many game-changing climate laws. Many environmental protections are implemented through administrative actions, such as regulations implemented by federal agencies, which may be overthrown by the next government. When the Democrats were in the White House, Environmental protection is higher on the priority list. When the Republicans were in the White House More about protecting pollutersThe country lacks the necessary strong federal and state climate legislation to protect people and the environment from toxic global warming pollution, Protect fenced communities (Usually poor colored communities and indigenous communities) and hold polluters accountable.

One of the highlights of the summit is the landmark $19 billion protocol More than 100 countries (which together account for 85% of the world’s forest area) will end deforestation by 2030.Healthy, intact forests are essential to combat climate change because they can prevent one third Of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

But in a press statement, Danzalin, Executive Director of Forest and Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation Association, Said The Glasgow Climate Convention “does not mean that the world has resolved the climate crisis.” He pointed out that even if all participating countries’ emission reduction commitments (known as “Nationally Determined Contributions” or “NDCs”) are fulfilled, the world will not be satisfied by 2030. Will reach the 45% reduction target required to limit the temperature rise to 1.5%. Degrees Celsius. In the Glasgow Climate Convention, countries only agreed to strengthen their nationally determined contributions before the end of 2022.

President Joe Biden, who attended the summit, welcomed the forest agreement, which aims to restore nearly 500 million acres of ecosystems, including forests, by 2030. “We will work hard to ensure that the market recognizes the true economic value of natural carbon sinks and incentivize governments, landowners and stakeholders to prioritize protection,” Said Biden added that the plan will “help the world achieve our common goal of preventing the loss of natural forests.”

But the activists are not so enthusiastic. The forest agreement “is one of the repeated attempts to convince us that we can stop deforestation and protect forests by investing billions of dollars in indigenous people’s lands and territories.” Said Souparna Lahiri of the Global Forest Alliance is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples’ organizations to defend the rights of forest people.

“[R]The reference to the rights of indigenous peoples in the Glasgow text is relatively weak”, Said Jennifer Tauli Corpuz is a lawyer for Igolots in the Philippines and the chief policy officer of Nia Tero, a non-profit organization for indigenous peoples. Specifically, she said “[w]e will have to pay close attention to implementation [COP26’s] The new carbon plan,” refers to the finalization of the rules governing the creation of the international carbon market, and is part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

In addition to the lack of indigenous representatives in the final text of the Glasgow Climate Convention, people from the poorer island countries most vulnerable to sea-level rise were also under-represented in the talks, mainly due to COVID-19 restrictions.only 3 of the 14 climate-vulnerable Pacific island countries Be able to send representatives to participate in COP26, and More than 500 people dispatched from the fossil fuel industry represent.

In the end, the climate commitments made by countries Not in line with climate policy Those countries. And because promises are not binding, there is no legal incentive to ensure that actual policies are consistent with these promises. “Nationally determined contributions are voluntary measures,” Said Lakshman Guruswamy is an international environmental law expert at the University of Colorado Boulder. “There is no way to implement, impose or attempt to enforce a non-binding agreement.”

There are no penalties, no legal consequences, no climate courts, no climate police. All people are civil society. Let us “ordinary people” stand up, speak up and mobilize; inspire young people to care about the climate and the environment; and rethink and reform our own personal behavior to meet our ultimate goal for the future. Without the political will behind the candidates who are fighting climate change and the public pressure for elected officials to keep their promises, there will be no major changes. Many American citizens do not realize that it is not enough to vote in the presidential election once every four years. When people play an active role in the local community, real changes occur. It starts at home, with our family, friends and neighbors.

There is no doubt: our personal decisions as consumers play a decisive role in global climate conditions. “Although large oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, our consumers are complicit,” Write Renee Cho is a contributing writer for the Columbia Climate School. “We need products and energy made from the fossil fuels they provide. A scientist found 90%The emissions of fossil fuel companies are the result of products made from fossil fuels. “

Sadly, according to a recent poll, although most people think climate change is a serious problem, few people actually want to change their lifestyle to help save the environment. “It is undeniable that citizens are worried about the condition of the planet, but these findings cast doubt on their level of commitment to protecting the planet,” According to the survey 10 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. “Instead of translating into greater willingness to change habits, citizens’ concerns are particularly focused on their negative assessment of government efforts… The broad understanding of the importance of the climate crisis illustrated in this research has not yet been commensurate with willingness to adopt action.”

Even if consumers are more willing to adjust their behavior to make them more climate-friendly, they may not necessarily understand how to make these changes. “[I]Individual consumers cannot be sure of the behavioral changes that are truly worthwhile to improve the climate,” Write John Thøgersen is an economic psychologist at Aarhus University, published in the journal Behavioral Science.

Emmanuel Rivière, head of international public opinion surveys at Kantar Public, conducted surveys in 10 countries to cooperate with COP26, Said The results of the poll contained “a double lesson to the government.”

First, they must “live up to people’s expectations… [b]But they must also convince people that it is not the reality of the climate crisis — it has been done — but what the solution is and how we can share the responsibility for them fairly. “

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