The UK and UN will have to bring countries back to the table with updated plans on greenhouse gas emissions. This is according experts from developing countries and climate scientists.
The Cop26 summit ended at the weekendWith a resolution requesting governments to revise their targets next year.
According to analysis published during the Glasgow talks it would lead to a catastrophic 2.4C heating cost, which is called nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This would be much higher than the 1.5C nations that were agreed to.
Australia has already indicated that it will not be updating its NDC. The country is widely regarded as a laggard on climate action, though its officials in Glasgow did not publicly oppose the resolutions reached there, which included a “phase-out” of coal until it was downgraded by China and India to a “phase-down”.
One developing world official told the Guardian: “[Ensuring countries increase their ambition on emissions cuts] is the challenge and in my view it’ll be just as difficult as [achieving]The Glasgow pact. It could raise the stakes for laggards.”
The Paris agreement is built on “an honour system”, the official said, which makes any enforcement mechanism impossible. However, countries must publish their NDCs for scrutiny, and under the deal reached in Glasgow the UN will publish regular “synthesis reports” assessing countries’ plans against the Paris temperature goals.
This will ensure that pressure can be applied based upon what countries have committed toThe official agreed. “We now know precisely where the onus to lead is, and countries will be called out routinely. The G20 will be in the spotlight – and a few in particular – the US, India, Brazil, China, Australia, Japan and Mexico. Civil society’s role has never been more important in the process,” they said.
John Kerry, US climate envoy acknowledged the problem After the talks ended, He said the US did not need to update its NDC, setting out 50% cuts in emissions by 2030, but that other countries – he did not specify which – must update theirs.
He stated that the best way to do so was to use public pressure, such as through social media and the internet. “This is the next big challenge,” he said. But countries that failed to engage could face “being pilloried for setting it up so people are going to die”.
He added: “Countries that do not step up will be come the subject of significant focus, on the internet, social media, newspapers and TV. Peer pressure is the main factor in everything. This is the key. [UN climate negotiations] process does not establish and cannot establish a police force.”
Those who feel this may be too weak should refer to the Glasgow deal and the Paris agreement. “That [pressure] can be effective – that is what brought us to Glasgow,” he said.
At the talks, an EU official stated that carbon border tax adjustments could also help. The carbon border tax adjustment would penalise high-carbon imports coming from countries with strict climate targets. The official said: “You need an international political process and a push to get them to feel it’s absolutely necessary. Countries can be a part of that. [such as the EU member states] going ahead with policies showing how deadly serious they are, and also saying to laggards that they will need to transform to keep selling their products on the world market.”
Public pressure will also play a significant role. “Part of [the answer] will be the global climate movement that’ll continue pushing leaders for more and chastising them over too little action, and part of that will be an international diplomatic effort, pushing for strong climate paragraphs in G7 and G20 [communiques]Cop27 is a series of ministerial conferences that revolve around NDCs.
“We’ve seen this year that when leaders feel a need to commit, even China will move, and even India will set a climate neutrality date.”
The UK’s presidency of Cop26This will continue throughout the year, until next November’s conference in Egypt.
The government will have to play a critical role in this, stated Bob Ward, policy Director at the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the London School of Economics.
“It will be difficult [to ensure countries update their NDCs as needed]Given that emissions pledges should be based upon detailed analysis of the countries’ plans to achieve them, The onus will be on the UK, which will continue to hold the presidency of the Cop, to work with all countries to make further progress,” he said.
No country should think themselves exempt, he added: “As the current shortfall is a collective failure, all countries will be expected to offer more ambitious pledges. It is hoped that the rich countries will honor their promise to mobilize $100 billion a year for developing nations next year. [poor countries]They will be able provide stronger emissions cuts. But as ever, the rich countries must lead by example and accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions.”
Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the government must show leadership by cancelling plans for new oilfields and a potential new coalmine, and reverse the cuts to overseas aid that many observers said had damaged the UK’s standing at Cop26. The key pledge of developed countries to provide $100bn per year in climate finance to the poorest nations was not fulfilled.
Starmer said: “Britain has particular responsibility as Cop president. First, we have to reassemble Paris’ climate coalition and build trust between the developing world and us. But cutting aid overseas does not build trust; it actually destroys it.
“So, will the prime minister immediately reverse the cuts? Second, major emitters cannot be granted free passes. All of our friends. We have a trade agreement with Australia where they have dropped their Paris temperature commitments. That was a mistake. Will the prime minister put it right?”