Goodbye Glasgow: What is the next step for global climate action?

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Authors: Bruegel Research Assistant Klaas Lenaerts and Bruege Senior Researcher Simone Tagliapietra. Originally published on Bruegel.

If countries adhere to the 2030 emission reduction target (jargon, Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC) submitted in Glasgow, by the end of this century, the global temperature will be 2.4°C higher than the pre-industrial level (cat, International Energy Agency, Environment Agency).This is bad news because science It has been clearly stated that in order to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change, humans need to control the global temperature rise within 1.5°C.

Taking into account the long-term net zero commitments made by some countries, the most recent India, Will limit the rise to 1.8°C (cat, International Energy Agency, Environment Agency). However, this number should be skeptical, because most of these commitments are currently not supported by actual actions or plans.

Bridging the global emissions gap

In this context, the top climate priority for 2022 should be to close the global emissions gap by ensuring that the NDC is raised to a level compatible with the 1.5°C trajectory. The Glasgow Climate Convention reached by 197 countries at COP26 has laid a solid foundation for this.

first, Documentation The 1.5°C target is strongly emphasized, not the 2°C target, both of which are included in the Paris Agreement. All 197 political parties agree that the 1.5°C target should become the norm, because the 2°C target has proven to be more harmful and riskier. This development is very important.As the latest Supervisory Commission The report shows that at a temperature of 1.5°C, the frequency of extreme high-temperature events is approximately twice that of today, while at a temperature of 2°C, their frequency will increase twice.

Second, the document recognizes the global emissions gap brought about by the current 2030 commitments, and calls on all countries to return to and strengthen their nationally determined contributions By the end of 2022The European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom are pushing for this earlier date, because by 2025, the Nationally Determined Contributions should usually be revised again in accordance with the Paris Agreement, but it will be time to halve emissions this decade in accordance with the 1.5°C requirement It’s too late to imagine.

Although the Glasgow Climate Convention provides an institutional basis for delivery in this area in 2022, delivery should not be taken for granted. Although the Paris Agreement requires the updated NDC to be more ambitious in each iteration than the previous version, many countries (such as Australia, Russia, Switzerland) have submitted the same COP26 goals as before, and some countries even backtracked ( E.g. Brazil) (cat). The omen of COP27 is not good: Australia and New Zealand have indicated that they will Do not adjust their NDC, Which is currently considered insufficient. Therefore, persuading laggards to expand their commitments in 2022 can be challenging.

Two complementary actions may help inspire countries to strengthen their climate commitments for 2030, and it is important to strengthen their climate actions in the coming years: international climate finance and bottom-up sector-specific climate trading. Although it failed to achieve results, Glasgow did advance global discussions in these areas. On the basis of these developments, global climate action may bring substantial results in 2022.

Provide climate finance to promote action and ensure international climate justice

Overall, ambitious developed countries should use 2022 to persuade their counterparts to strengthen climate measures, if they have not already done so, including through G7 and G20. China and India intervened at the last minute to weaken the agreement to “phasing out” coal, which made people feel very frustrated. This is correct.China is no longer a least developed country and is rapidly creating its own historical responsibility Cumulative emissions. India has not yet assumed its historical responsibility and still needs to help its people escape poverty. However, there is no carbon budget that can put India on the same pollution path as China or the West. On the contrary, rich countries should expand financial and technical support to provide reliable alternatives for the development of coal power.Agreements that free individual countries from coal, such as $8.5 billion pledge to South Africa, Can be used as a template for future commitments, because they will bring greater responsibility to the relevant governments. At the same time, individual countries should not be ignored due to lack of multilateral funding.

The problem of climate finance may be the most frustrating source, which is caused by the rich countries themselves: Failed to deliver 100 billion U.S. dollars By 2020, the annual reduction pledged to developing countries during the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 OECD) To 80 billion US dollars per year (estimated Oxfam, Which specifically pointed out that in addition to grants, only the income generated by loans at lower than the market interest rate should be calculated, not the full value of the loan).

The Glasgow Climate Convention merely urges rich countries to fulfill the same amount of pledges by 2025 and to at least double the funding for adaptation from US$20 billion in 2019. In contrast, The first special UN report It is estimated that the nationally determined contribution of developing countries alone means that the total financing needs by 2030 will be between 5.8 and 5.9 trillion U.S. dollars.

The developed countries led by the United States should fulfill their promises as soon as possible and expand the scale of international climate financing. It needs to be emphasized that several complementary options can be adopted: bilateral funding can be paralleled with multilateral funding, multilateral development banks, private sector donations, philanthropy, IMF special drawing rights and voluntary carbon markets-Glasgow For this reason, after six years of bargaining, it hindered the “Paris Agreement” rule book, which represents a game changer and passed the rules governing the international trade of emission reduction units.

The problem of missing and damaged tags is particularly important. This concept entered international climate negotiations in 1991, when the Alliance of Small Island States called for a mechanism to compensate countries affected by rising sea levels. Over time, more and more fragile countries have realized that they are affected by climate change beyond their ability to mitigate alone. Over time, the idea of ??a mechanism to help them deal with loss and damage has gained wider support. COP26 is very close to creating the “Glasgow Loss and Damage Fund”, which aims to channel funds from rich countries to poor countries and climate-vulnerable countries.However, the initiative was eventually Rejected by rich countriesBecause they are afraid of unlimited liability. The issue of loss and damage is the cornerstone of international climate justice, so this project must now be at the top of the 2022 climate agenda.

Promote global climate action through bottom-up and sector-specific transactions

Some of the most notable achievements on COP26 occurred outside the framework of the Paris Agreement, with many incidental deals concluded by different groups of countries.For example, some of the most forest-rich countries in the world have signed Stop deforestation by 2030, Committed to providing more than 16 billion euros in public and private funds to promote this. More than 100 countries have joined the U.S. and EU-led production reduction commitments Methane Reduce emissions by 30% between 2020 and 2030. Phase out coal By the 2030s and 2040s or as soon as possible afterwards. Some small producers (but some have large reserves) Oil and gas Said that it will stop issuing new drilling permits in 2040 or after 2050. In addition, economies such as China, India, the European Union, and the United States have signed the “Breakthrough Agenda” statement, announcing that their goal is to make clean energy, zero-emission vehicles, green steel and green hydrogen available and competitive globally.Finally, in the field of private finance, the Glasgow Summit witnessed the birth of the “Glasgow Net Zero Finance Alliance”, which can mobilize a lot of resources, although the reported $130 trillion is clearly a Severely overestimated.

Many of these deals have been affected by softening of the wording (e.g. phasing out/phasing out coal), disappointing precedents (deforestation), and the absence of some of the most important parties: Russia, India, China, and Australia have not joined the global methane pledge The largest coal producers and users also refused to sign the coal initiative.In addition, the additionality of these agreements in terms of nationally determined contributions Being questioned.

Nonetheless, these side transactions for specific sectors make the commitments more specific and “modular.” They allow countries to open their own path to achieve higher sustainability, which may work better given their different environments and ambitions. They allow the participation of other parties that ultimately must take climate action: local authorities, the private sector, and civil society.

Leading countries may wish to consider joining and encourage other countries to do so before the next COP at the end of 2022.For example, Germany can send a signal to domestic and global automakers by joining the plan to eliminate emissions from new cars by 2040. Discuss at EU level already.

It is impossible not to mention another incidental transaction that attracted attention in Glasgow: “China-U.S. Joint Glasgow Declaration on Strengthening Climate Action in the 2020s‘. From the two largest polluters in the world-together accounting for 40% of global emissions-the declaration represents a breakthrough in the Glasgow negotiations. This is similar to a similar agreement facilitated by the same two chief negotiators, then Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua in 2014, paving the way for the adoption of the Paris Agreement a year later.Therefore, although the actual impact of the declaration is still vague due to the lack of specific commitments, it is an important political document that aims to establish some Common sense guardrail In terms of climate, in a cold relationship of mutual distrust.

2022: Cross the climate bridge?

The Glasgow Conference closed, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Said Established in COP26 Contracting Parties “The bridge between the admirable promise made in Paris six years ago and the demands of scientific evidence and the concrete measures demanded by societies around the world”She is right: COP26 is an important step in the fight against global warming. However, the meeting failed to narrow the global emissions gap. Building on the achievements of Glasgow, the world has a real opportunity in 2022.

Rich countries have a clear responsibility in the coming year: to fulfill their $100 billion climate financing pledge, support developing countries and take action to protect vulnerable communities. This is the key to giving the core principles of common but differentiated responsibilities the essence of the Paris Agreement and ensuring international climate justice.

At the same time, backward countries must revise their 2030 emission reduction commitments and policy actions, taking into account specific industry deals signed in Glasgow, which are expected to expand in the coming months.

Only by taking these actions quickly during 2022 can countries finally prove that Glasgow is real progress, not “Wait wait wait‘.

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