How much the world achieved at the Glasgow climate talks – and what happens now – depends in large part on where you live.
In island nationsThese people are facing the prospect of losing their homes due to sea level rise. In other countries that are highly vulnerable, it was difficult to swallow bitter pills after the global commitments to reduce emissions fell. far short of the goal to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F).
There were signs of progress in large middle-income countries like India and South Africa that are investing in 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 when coalitions of companies and governments, civil society and indigenous groups made progress on issues like 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. These five key elements will be important 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.
The countries 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 brings the spotlight back to 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. They had little to offer in terms U.S. finance share, and the rest of the world was concerned about 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 be paid to countries that are high-emitting and heavily dependent upon coal in the coming months. phase down coalImportantly, to finance a fair transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and the infrastructure to generate 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, along with financial aid and guarantees that could attract private investment, could be replicated.
The key was national ownership. Look out for plans to join forces in Indonesia and Vietnam, and other countries that need to move away from coal.
Climate finance flowing
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 are frustrated at the failures 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 shattered the landing zone for agreement in all areas.
The Chinese calculate the value of growthSome measures, such as heat and flooding, can reduce the loss. It amounts to trillions of US dollars, it is not surprising. 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. The U.N. 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 condemned the traditional channels for public funds that create the conditions for finance to flow. This included the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. To respond to the climate crisis, look out for G7 and G20 nations, which are the largest shareholders of these institutions. Mario Draghi, the current president of G20 and a highly experienced central banker, is all eyes on Italy’s Prime Minister. There are many actions that could be taken, including strengthening 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 get incentives leverage more private fundsTake more risks.
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 shift in financial markets away carbon emissions was 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. The idea of getting everyone pledged and into the tent and then making improvements 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 of a wobbly stool is loss and 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. Fear not 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.]
The disappointment of developing countries in Glasgow was not surprising, but there was no escape from the debate. Watch out for the design of a mechanism to pay for loss and damage, and plans for funding it. 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.