As the climate summit in Glasgow draws to a close, the United Nations issued a draft agreement late Wednesday that countries will use as a templateFor a global agreement to take stronger action against global climate change.
Conference organizers still face many obstacles, which are expected to be closed on Friday.
The draft calls on countries to “revisit and strengthen” their plans for cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. And, it asks rich countries to “urgently scale up their provision of climate finance” to help developing nations adapt to global warming.
The draft did not include any enforcement mechanisms or deadlines. Now, approximately 200 nations must work out the details and agree to pay the bill.
Tradition dictates that each party must sign on to a final agreement. Talks can end in discord if any country objects. Each country has its own set, often competing, interests. Small island states like Maldives, which are under imminent threat from rising seas and climate change, demand that all countries reduce their carbon emissions as quickly as they can. Russia and Saudi Arabia, oil producers, aren’t eager to quickly phase out fossil fuels. Even big developing countries like India want more help in transitioning to cleaner energy.
Our team in Glasgow will continue to cover the talks live throughout the week. You can follow the Wednesday sessions here.
The numbers:The main goal of the climate conference is to reach a global agreement to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit compared to preindustrial levels. Scientists say that beyond this threshold, the probability of deadly heat waves as well as droughts and wildfires, flooding, and biodiversity collapses rises rapidly. Already, the planet has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Trust, but verifySatellites could be used for helping to determine whether nations are keeping their greenhouse gas pledges.
Ford, Mercedes-Benz (GMC), Volvo and General Motors are just a few of the automakers who have signed the pledge. They together accounted for nearly one-quarter global sales in 2019.
“Having these major players making these commitments, though we need to make sure that they follow through, is really significant,” said Margo Oge, a former senior U.S. air quality official who now advises both environmental groups and auto companies. “It really tells us that these companies, and their boards, accept that the future is electric.”
Why it matters: Transportation accounts for roughly one-fifth of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions, with a little less than half of that coming from passenger vehicles like cars and vans.
The United States did NOT join: Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, said the Biden administration was “focused on what we are doing at home.”
Looking towards the future:Rivian, a manufacturer of electric trucks and vans has gone public and set a stock price that values it at nearly $70 billion.
Nov. 10, 2021, 11:45 a.m. ET
Glasgow: Join us
The New York Times Climate Hub will continue to operate on the sidelines U.N. climate conference. The Thursday sessions will explore issues around sports, meat consumption, girls’ education and much more. View the complete program. watch the discussions for free.
From the opinion section
What Africa urgently needs: Leaders around the world must seize the moral imperativeEllen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president, wrote an opinion essay. She urged people to commit to climate change action.
It’s all about cold, hard cash:Plans for new power generation in the developing world won’t meet global climate goalsJeffrey Ball, a Stanford University Law School lecturer, writes.
The first week ended with thousands of protestors in Glasgow. Young climate activists led a march on Friday, many of whom were women and not old enough to vote in their respective countries. They accused world leaders and others of wasting their time in securing their future.
These bookends were revealed during the first week of the talks a widening divide that threatens to grow largerIn the weeks and months ahead.
Video:More than 100,000 demonstrators marchedAccording to protest organizers, Glasgow
These are the numbers: The summit leaders are setting 2030 goals at the earliest possible time. In some cases, they’re setting targets for 2060 and 2070, when many of today’s activists will be hitting retirement age.
Quotable Future generations “will judge us with bitterness and with a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today,” Prime Minister Johnson of Britain said in his opening remarks at the conference.
Who gets to use fossil fuels during the transition from clean energy, and for how much? That’s one of the big questions at COP26. It is vital that we make a rapid transition to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.
Not only would this be expensive in poorer countries but many African countries also have a lot of natural gas or other fossilfuels. Plus, Sub-Saharan Africa contributes about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, among the lowest of the world’s regions.
“African countries are the ones on the receiving end of this problem. It’s the bigger emitters that should have the responsibility to cut,” said Titus Gwemende, the Zimbabwe-based climate director at the Open Society Foundation. “We should be sensitive to history.”
That’s why some African leaders and activists are, for the first time, vocally opposing a speedier pivot to renewables for their countries. Instead, they are pressing for a slower transition, one that would embrace a continued reliance on fossil fuels — particularly natural gas, which burns more cleanly than coal or oil, but which still pumps planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
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