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it’s half-time at the crucial Glasgow climate change summit – and here’s the score
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it’s half-time at the crucial Glasgow climate change summit – and here’s the score


The United Nations climate negotiations in Glasgow are coming to an end. While there’s still a way to go, progress so far gives some hope the Paris climate agreement struck six years ago is working.

Major powers made significant commitments to reduce emissions in the next decade and pledged to move towards net-zero emission. New coalitions were also created to decarbonize certain sectors of the global economic system. These include plans to phase out coal-fired electricity, pledges for reducing global methane emissions and ending deforestation, as well as plans for net zero emissions shipping.

The two-week summit, COP26, is a crucial test of global cooperation to address the climate crisis. The Paris Agreement requires that countries produce more ambitious national plans to reduce their emissions every five years. The COVID pandemic delayed the release of new plans for one year.

The global emissions curve could be reshaped by the pledges made so far at the summit. Credible projections from an expert team, including Professor Malte Meinshausen at the University of Melbourne, suggest if new pledges are fully funded and met, global warming could be limited to to 1.9℃ this century. The International Energy Agency was established. similar conclusion.

This is real progress. The Earth system responds to what we put into the atmosphere, not the promises made at summits. Therefore, pledges must be backed up by finance and the appropriate policies and actions in energy and land use.

There is still a significant gap in emissions reductions, and it is imperative that more climate action be taken this decade to avoid catastrophic global warming. The second week of the Glasgow talks will be focused on achieving the necessary emissions reductions by 2030, especially considering that global emissions are expected to rise by around 30% by 2030. rebound strongly in 2021(after the drop caused by COVID-19 last year).

Australia, for its part, contributed almost nothing to global efforts at Glasgow. Australia was the only advanced country to set a new target to reduce its emissions for this decade. If anything, this week added to Australia’s reputation as a member of a small and isolated group of countries – with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Russia – resisting climate action.

Two graphs show progress towards the global temperature goals, based upon national pledges made before the COP26 summit.

Global momentum: What did major power bring to Glasgow?

Since the last UN climate summit we’ve seen a worldwide surge in momentumClimate action. More than 100 countries – accounting more than two-thirdsThe global economy have set specific dates for net-zero emission.

Perhaps more importantly, in the lead up to the Glasgow summit the world’s advanced economies – including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand – all strengthened their 2030 targets. The G7 group of countries pledgedTo reduce their collective emissions to half by 2030.

Major economies from the developing world also made new commitments to COP26. China committed to net-zero emission by 2060 and increased its 2030 targets. It now plans to reach its peak emissions by the close of the decade.

India also promised to achieve net-zero in 2070 this week ramp up installationRenewable energy. By 2030, half of India’s electricity will come from renewable sources.

COP26 opened with a number of new announcements about decarbonizing sectors of the global economic. The UK declaredThe end of coal was near, as it launched a global coalition to eliminate coal-fired power.

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More than 100 countries joined the Africom. new pledgeTo reduce methane emissions by 30% before 2030. More than 120 countries have also committed to do the same. end deforestationBy 2030

The US joined a group of countries that aims to achieve this goal. net-zero emissions in global shipping.

But this week, the developed world fell shortTo fulfill a decade-old promise: to deliver US$100 Billion each year to poorer nations to address climate impacts.

It is crucial that the talks are held to climate finance commitments. For it’s part, Australia pledged an additional A$500 million in climate finance to countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific – a figure well short of Australia’s fair share of global efforts. Australia refused to join Green Climate Fund.

three men stand on stage before green and blue background
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, and US President Joe Biden are seen at a COP26 deforestation session. More than 120 countries pledged to end deforestation.

The Australian Way: Missing the moment?

While the rest of world is moving forward with their race to become a net-zero emission economy, Australia is still far from the finish line. Australia brought to Glasgow its 2030 emissions target from Paris six years back, even though key allies promised much stronger targets.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Canada, arrived in London. scant plansHis last-minute announcement about net-zero by 2020 was accompanied by a strategy. The strategy, which was little more than a brochure and did not provide any credible path to the target, was rejected. met with derisionAll over the world

Australia stifled the global momentum to reduce carbon emissions by blocking the G20 leaders in Rome on the way to Glasgow. resisting callsto phase out coal power. Australia refused to sign the global pledge. methane.

Worse, Australia is using COP26 actively to promote fossil fuels. Angus Taylor, Federal Energy Minister, says the summit offers a chance to address these issues. promote investmentIn Australian gas projects and Australian fossil fuel company Santos prominently branded at the venue’s Australia Pavilion.

The federal government is promotingCarbon capture and storage are a climate solution. However, it is widely considered a license to extend the use fossil fuels. The technology is also quite eye-watering. expensiveHowever, it is not yet tested at scale.

Climate Council

The final stretch

Week one of the summit in Glasgow has brought more climate action to the world than was promised in Paris six-years ago. However, the summit outcomes still fall well short of what is required to limit warming to 1.5℃. Now, the focus will be on negotiating an outcome that will further increase climate ambition in this decade.

Vulnerable countries have proposedCountries that have not met their 2030 targets should return to the table in 2022, long before COP27. They will be required to set higher targets to reduce emissions.

This week, the United States rejoinedThe High Ambition Coalition is a group of countries that came from different negotiating blocs at the UN climate talks. The Marshall Islands was the leader of the group. crucialIn securing 2015 Paris Agreement.

This coalition is located in Glasgow pressing for an outcome that will keep the world on track to limiting warming to 1.5℃.

However, there are still significant differences between China and the USA. Many developing countries would like to see more commitment from wealthy countries to climate finance before they pledge new targets. Can there be a consensus reached in Glasgow We’ll be watching the negotiations closely next week to find out.

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