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Explainer-Sticking Points At The U.N. Climate Conference

As per experts, the actions of governments at COP26 will determine the future

Explainer-Sticking Points At The U.N. Climate Conference
Against the backdrop of extreme weather events around the world and a United Nations' climate report that said global warming was close to spiralling out of control
Highlights
  • Representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet in Glasgow
  • Six years ago in Paris, countries agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • U.N. conference was postponed last year due to the pandemic

London: Representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31-November 12 for climate talks to strengthen action to tackle global warming under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Against the backdrop of extreme weather events around the world and a United Nations’ climate report that said global warming was close to spiralling out of control, the actions of governments at this conference will determine whether it is a success.

Also Read: India To Pitch For Reduction In Carbon Emissions At COP 26

Here are some of the issues which need to be resolved:

Emissions Cut Pledges

Six years ago in Paris, countries agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and ideally 1.5C (2.7 Fahrenheit). To do this, emissions need to be cut in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by around mid-century.

As the U.N. conference was postponed last year due to the pandemic, this year is the deadline for countries to make steeper emissions cut pledges (called nationally determined contributions or NDCs).

The annual “emissions gap” https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/un-warns-world-set-27c-rise-todays-emissions-pledges-2021-10-26 report by the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), which measures the gap between anticipated emissions and those consistent with limiting the temperature rise this century as agreed in the Paris accord, said updated pledges only reduce forecast 2030 emissions by an additional 7.5%, compared to the previous commitments.

If continued throughout this century, this would lead to warming of 2.7C, slightly less than the 3C UNEP forecast in its last report. A 30% cut is needed to limit warming to 2C and a 55% cut is needed to limit to 1.5C.

It said current commitments to net zero could limit warming to around 2.2C by the end of the century, but 2030 pledges so far do not put major emitters on a clear path to this.

Major emitters China and India – together responsible for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions – have not yet come forward with strengthened NDCs and need to do so at this conference, known as COP26.

Also Read: Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High In 2020 Despite Pandemic: Report

Finance

As far back as 2009, developed countries agreed to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change.

But a plan on how to do so, prepared by Canada and Germany ahead of the United Nations COP26 summit in Scotland, said the annual target would now not be met until 2023.

As rich nations are not meeting the $100 billion a year goal, it can break down trust at the climate talks, experts say. And a new finance goal needs to be worked out for 2025 onwards.

Loss And Damage

Governments agreed to address the impact of climate change on developing countries but there is no detail about liability or compensation, a bone of contention for many poorer countries.

A platform to enable technical assistance for vulnerable countries was established in 2019 but developing nations want a more robust mechanism to include financing.

Fossil Fuels

The UK COP26 president, Alok Sharma, has said he wants this conference to be the one where coal power is consigned to history.

The U.N. has called for phasing out coal by 2030 in OECD countries but environment ministers from the Group of 20 big economies have failed to agree a timeline.

Article 6

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which covers the role of carbon markets, has not been resolved since the pact was struck. Progress on it broke down at the last talks in 2019.

The article calls for “robust accounting” to avoid “double counting” of emissions reductions. It also aims to establish a central U.N. mechanism to trade carbon credits from emissions reductions generated from low-carbon projects.

Also Read: India’s 450GW Renewable Energy Goal By 2030 Doable: US Official

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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