How much the world achieved at the Glasgow climate talks – and what happens now – depends in large part on where you live.
In island nationsThose who are losing their homes to rising sea levels and those in highly vulnerable countries have had to swallow the bitter pill of falling global emissions reductions. far short of the goal to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F).
There was progress in India and South Africa, which are large middle-income nations, regarding investments required for the development of clean energy.
In the developed world, countries still have to internalize, politically, that bills are coming due – both at home and abroad – after decades of delaying action on climate change. The more time it takes to transition, the more difficult it will be.
There was also hope, as the progress made on issues such as were made possible by coalitions of corporations, governments, civil society groups and indigenous peoples groups. stopping deforestation, cutting methane, ending coal useAnd boosting zero-emissions vehicles. These promises must be kept.
As a former senior U.N. official, I’ve been involved in the climate negotiations for several years. Here are five key aspects to keep an eye on as countries make good on their promises.
Bending the curve to 1.5°C
Going into the Glasgow summit, countries’ commitments had put the world on a trajectory of warming about 2.9°C this century, well beyond the 1.5°C goal and into levels of warming that will bring dangerous climate impacts. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcementIn the first days, India was able to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, and generate 50% of its energy using renewables by 2030. This surprised many Indian observers. lower that trajectory to 2.4°C.
For the upcoming elections, countries have agreed to return next round of climate talks in November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with stronger commitments to put the world on track for 1.5°C.
This puts the spotlight on national action. While shaming the U.S., China reminded everyone that goals must be supported by plans for implementation. U.S. Cabinet members and Congressional leaders had much to say in Glasgow about being “back,” after the previous administration withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. But they had very little to offer in terms U.S. share of finance, and the entire world watched with concern its continued partisan politics.
More South Africa deals, please
While all countries are important for reaching the world’s climate goals, some are more important than others.
International attention will soon be focused on countries that are high emitters and heavily dependent coal-dependent countries. phase down coalBut it is important to fund a fair transition to green energy sources and the necessary infrastructure for electricity.
South Africa is the poster child for this approach, as it has the largest population. presidential commissionHe has worked for three decades to create a just transition plan. able to attract US$8.5 billionThey will receive assistance from the U.K. and the EU as well as the U.S. to execute it. This, together with financial aid to attract private investment and guarantees, could make it a replicable model.
National ownership was key. In the coming year, expect plans to work together in Indonesia and Vietnam as well as other countries looking to move away coal.
Climate finance flow
Many developing countries already have national platforms to deliver on their commitments, but throughout Glasgow’s conference halls, officials complained that finance wasn’t flowing to help them succeed.
This isn’t just a climate finance problem. Many countries are also suffering economic disruption as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic and have expressed concern at the failure of international financial institutions in addressing issues such as trade and access to finance. Advanced economies didn’t come to Glasgow ready to provide even the $100 billion a year in finance promised a decade ago, which reduced the landing area for agreement on all issues.
The Chinese calculate the value of growthA few measures like heat and floods can help to reduce the amount of money that is lost. It is not surprising that it amounts to trillions. It may be a useful exercise whenever a government balks at the “cost” of climate action.
The governments reached an agreement to meet the $100 billion annual climate finance target in the next two years, and that adaptation funding should be doubled. However, the U.N. However, the U.N. Environment Programme estimates that adaptation funds will need to quadruple by 2030 from today’s $70 billion, there’s a long way to go.
The Glasgow Climate Pact also criticised the traditional channels of public money that provide the conditions for finance, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. G7 and G20 countries are the largest shareholders in these institutions. They can be analyzed to see if they can be managed differently to address the climate emergency. Mario Draghi is the current president and chief executive of the G20. He is an experienced central banker. The actions could include bolstering the Climate Investment Funds, managed by the World Bank, and loosening the terms and conditions of the IMF’s proposed management of the reallocation of special drawing rightsTo incentives leverage more private fundsYou can take on more risk.
Finance pledges and cries of ‘greenwashing’
The financial industry’s titans proclaimed the victory in the first week of Glasgow. Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero – the commitment by financial institutions representing $130 trillion in assets to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. The shifts in financial markets away carbon emissions were palpable. But without more detail, the announcement attracted cries of “greenwashing.”
The alliance’s organizers will have to work hard to hold their members accountable and to get rid of those who are still supporting the coal industry. For example, the principle of getting everyone in the tent and then making them better has been used before. Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. But this only works with transparency, and buried among the press releases was their report that, of the advertised $57 trillion of the initiative’s assets under management, only an estimated 35% is actually in lineWith net zero
The U.N. secretary General announced an expert groupIn response to the controversy over greenwashing, we propose clear standards for companies making net zero commitments. This group is expected to report back by 2022. Glasgow’s new seriousness about transparency, credibility, integrity, and accountability was at its core. This is what you can expect to see in the coming year.
The third leg on a wobbly stool: Loss or damage
Climate action is a three-legged stool – mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.
In the unprecedented 12 instances that damage and loss were mentioned in the report, final Glasgow textsBut without funding commitments or mechanisms to secure funding. This is how you can understand loss and damages, or reparations: You broke it (or threatened it), you pay. But be wary of lawsuits. international courts – which the U.S. does not belong to – or afraid of the costs, developed countries have opposed progress on the issue in recent years.[More than 140,000 readers get one of The Conversation’s informative newsletters. Join the list today.]
Although the developing countries were disappointed in Glasgow, there was no escaping this debate. Keep an eye out for plans to fund it and a design for a mechanism that will help pay for damage and loss. With the next year’s U.N. climate conference in Africa, this will move center stage.
There’s a Scottish proverb, “fools look to tomorrow, wise men [sic] use tonight.” There were wise people in Glasgow, and fools too. But there’s not a night to lose in the year ahead.