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With COP26 Credibility At Stake, Some Urge Ratcheting Up Schedule

Rich nations that failed to meet a 2020 deadline to extend $100 billion a year in climate finance to poorer nations now say they won’t meet that pledge until 2023.

With COP26 Credibility At Stake, Some Urge Ratcheting Up Schedule
COP26: Activists have dismissed the first week’s fanfare as “greenwashing”
Highlights
  • Only 10 years left to bring global emissions down by 45 per cent
  • Reducing global emissions is key to keeping the temperature rise in check
  • Countries must be held accountable on an annual basis: Scientists

Glasgow: Behind the headlines touting new emissions and finance commitments, the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow are facing a battle for credibility. Over the last week, rich countries were accused of repeatedly breaking promises. Big polluters traded barbs. And environmental campaigners have cried betrayal, as years of U.N. climate negotiations to rein in climate-warming carbon emissions and protect the world’s most vulnerable have had little effect.

Also Read: Five Days Left At COP26: Focus Turns To Climate Finance After Flurry Of COP26 Pledges

We have not seen sincerity in the commitments and progress made by developed countries, and have heard far more slogans than practical results, Chinese delegate Gao Xiang wrote in Saturday’s official Shanghai newspaper, Guangming Daily.

Emissions are rising, and global temperatures – already 1.1 degree Celsius higher on average than in pre-industrial times – continue to climb. Rich nations that failed to meet a 2020 deadline to extend $100 billion a year in climate finance to poorer nations now say they won’t meet that pledge until 2023. Activists have dismissed the first week’s fanfare as “greenwashing,” even as country delegates and U.N. negotiators are still working on the details for implementing old and new promises. But with the history of climate diplomacy littered with broken promises, many have asked: what needs to change beyond this year’s two-week conference to ensure accountability?

Also Read: 43 Maharashtra Cities With Population Of 65 Million To Fight Climate Change With Commitment To “Race To Zero”

Tighten The Ratchet

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries return to the COP26 table on Monday, with just five days left to cut deals needed to cap global warming at 1.5 C – the limit beyond which the world will be courting devastating climate change impacts. Among the big issues to resolve are: setting reliable rules for carbon markets, assessing how industrialized countries should pay for climate-linked losses incurred by the rest of the world, and working out financing to help developing countries adapt.

But one idea has gained traction: making countries review and, if necessary, update their emissions-cutting pledges every year, rather than on the current five-year schedule.

Also Read: Adopt These 10 Green Good Deeds And Do Your Bit To Save The Planet

It’s an emergency. Every five years? That’s not treating it like an emergency, said Saleemul Huq, advisor to the 48-country Climate Vulnerable Forum, which began lobbying for more frequent reviews before the Glasgow talks even began.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told delegates last week that, if COP26 fell short, countries should be required to revisit their climate plans every year. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry also backed more regular reviews.

I hope we come out with a very good framework. Whether it’s five years (or) less, I can’t tell you today, Mr Kerry told journalists Friday. But I definitely believe it should be as short as we can.

Supporters say such a change is crucial. With just 10 years left to bring global emissions down by 45%, which scientists say is vital to keeping the temperature rise in check, countries must be held accountable on an annual basis, they say. “It would be negative in my mind to come out of here with too long a horizon,” Kerry said.

Capacity Challenge

For poorer countries with limited government capacity, an annual initiative could prove a strain.

One year is too short,  said Chioma Felistas Amudi, the assistant chief scientific officer in the climate change department of Nigeria’s Ministry of Environment.

She said many of country pledges, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), spanned a wide range of policy areas, energy plans, and government initiatives that needed both political will and financial backing. So a one-year check-in would disrupt the process of implementation, she said.

Also Read: Maharashtra Bags ‘Inspiring Regional Leadership’ Award At COP26 For Climate Action

Five years gives us broader time to implement, and also do the stock-take. Britain’s environment minister questioned whether formal changes to the U.N. process were needed, saying it was already designed for incremental progress.

I am not sure whether the technicality around a ratchet is something that we would push for or would be in the final text this year, Environment Minister George Eustice told Times Radio. But he didn’t rule it out.When you have these annual events … there is a lot of referring back to previous agreements.

(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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