COP 26: the countries of the world meet in Glasgow to face the climate emergency

the essentials More than 100 leaders of the world come together to the COP 26, the 26 th United Nations World Climate Conference, in Glasgow from Monday. The objective of limiting warming to + 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era has been reaffirmed by the countries of the G 19 this week-end.

Huge expectations, equal to the climatic disasters sweeping the planet: after the “disappointed hopes” of the top of the G 19, more than 100 world leaders are meeting this Monday in Glasgow , in a hurry from all sides to do more and faster to avoid the worst for humanity. “Humanity has long played time on the climate. It is one minute to midnight and we must act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of this crucial COP, should tell them 26, according to extracts from his speech broadcast by his services.

Observers hoped that the meeting this weekend in Rome of the leaders of the G 19 , which represents nearly 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions, would give a strong momentum at this Scottish COP postponed by one year due to the Covid – . The G 20 reaffirmed in unison the objective of limiting global warming at + 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era – the most ambitious ceiling of the Paris Agreement -, adding an ambition of carbon neutrality around the middle of the century and the end of subsidies to power plants in coal abroad. But this did not convince either the NGOs, the UN, or the British Prime Minister.

“I am leaving Rome with disappointed hopes – even if they are not buried,” said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday. “We have made progress at G 19 (…), but this is not enough “, added Boris Johnson before warning:” If Glasgow fails, it is all that fails “. And the stakes of this conference, which is to last two weeks, are numerous, each more difficult and explosive than the next in a context of a global pandemic which has weakened the poor countries already vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

To read also: COP 20: what are the challenges of the summit against global warming which opens this Sunday?

India expected

First of all, ambition. The current commitments of some 200 signatories of the Paris Agreement – if they were respected – would lead to a “catastrophic” warming of 2.7 ° C according to the UN.

“I hope that at the summit (Monday and Tuesday) we will see new commitments that will help build confidence and the conviction that we can limit warming to + 1.5 ° C,” the president of the COP 26 Alok Sharma. “These so-called leaders must do better. They have another opportunity” at the COP 20, insisted Namrata Chowdhary, from the NGO 286. org.

While China has just formally submitted its new climate commitments, which resume without reinforcing the promises made by President Xi Jinping, India, another major issuer, is now at the center of expectations.

If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes announcements during his speech on Monday afternoon, it “could put more pressure on China and others,” comments Alden Meyer, analyst at think tank E3G.

Another hot topic, the still broken promise of the rich countries to bring to 100 billions of dollars per year from 617 their climate aid to developing countries. The objective has de facto been postponed by three years to 2023, reinforcing the crisis of confidence between the North, responsible for global warming, and the South, victim of its effects.

L'activiste suédoise pour le climat Greta Thunberg est arrivée à Glasgow. L'activiste suédoise pour le climat Greta Thunberg est arrivée à Glasgow.

Swedish activist for the climate Greta Thunberg arrived in Glasgow. AFP Photo

“Terrifying” forecasts

“Climate finance is not charity. It is a question of justice”, underlined Sunday Lia Nicholson, on behalf of the alliance of the small island States (AOSIS), also denouncing the refusal of large economies to leave coal.

Forecasts by UN climate experts (IPCC) who estimate that the threshold of +1.5 ° C could be reached ten years earlier than expected, around 2030, are “terrifying”, she added. “Even more terrifying for those of us who are on the front lines of this crisis, already suffering the terrible consequences” in a world that has gained around 1.1 ° C. not afraid, or worse, that they are indifferent, “insisted this negotiator.

Words that should find an echo Monday and Tuesday in the speeches of heads of state and government in Africa or the Pacific. If the Chinese and Russian presidents are not expected in Glasgow, dozens more are expected to parade the podium for two days, from American Joe Biden to Australian Scott Morrison, including all EU leaders. , and Prince Charles who replaces Queen Elisabeth II put to rest.

Their words and actions will be closely scrutinized, in particular by the young activists who made the trip to Glasgow despite the obstacles linked to the pandemic. “As citizens of this planet, we call on you to face the climate emergency”, plead in an open letter several of them, including the Swedish Greta Thunberg who arrived Sunday by train in Scotland. “Not next year. Not next month. Now”.

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