the essential An agreement was found at the last minute at the COP , this Saturday evening, to accelerate the fight against global warming. Negotiations opened two weeks ago. Here is what this agreement contains.
Witnessing the difficulty in reaching this agreement, the president of the COP 26 said in a voice moved and with tears in his eyes “deeply sorry” for last-minute changes introduced on the issue of fossil fuels at the request of China and India. He had earlier estimated that the agreement “inaugurates a decade of growing ambition” in the area of climate.
On the critical point of limiting temperatures, while the planet is according to the UN on a “catastrophic” trajectory of warming of 2.7 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, the text calls on member states to increase their reduction commitments more regularly than provided for in the Paris agreement, starting from 2022. But with the possibility of adjustments for “particular national circumstances”, a point which has aroused criticism from NGOs on the real ambitions of the text.
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Limit heating to 1.5 ° C
Moreover, the compromise found does not ensure compliance with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, limiting warming “well below” 2 ° C and if possible to 1.5 ° C. But it offers prospects for the British presidency to show success on its goal of seeing Glasgow “keep 1.5 alive”. Experts regularly warn that “every tenth of a degree counts” while disasters linked to climate change are already increasing: floods, droughts or heat waves, with their attendant damage and victims.
“It’s soft” for Greenpeace
“It’s soft, it’s weak, and the 1.5 ° C target is barely alive, but there is a signal that the Coal Age is over. And that’s important,” commented Jennifer Morgan, patron of Greenpeace International. The text also contains a mention, unprecedented at this level, of fossil fuels, the main responsible for global warming and which are not even mentioned in the Paris agreement.
The wording was attenuated over the versions and until the last minute before the adoption in plenary, at the insistence of China and India in particular. The final version calls for “stepping up efforts towards reducing coal without (CO2) capture systems and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”. A “bitter pill to swallow”, but accepted “for the common good”, regretted the representative of Liechtenstein.
After a failure at the last two COPs, it has also succeeded in finalizing the rules for using the Paris Agreement, in particular on the functioning of the carbon markets supposed to help reduce emissions. The explosive issue of aid to poor countries, which at one time seemed able to derail the negotiations, has however not found a resolution.
Scared by the still broken promise of the richest to bring from 2020 their climate aid in the South to 26 billions of dollars per year, the poor countries, the least responsible for global warming but on the front line in the face of its impacts, demanded specific funding for the “losses and damages” they are already suffering.
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Poor countries have given in
But the developed countries, first and foremost the United States, which fears possible legal consequences, strongly opposed it. And reluctantly, the poor countries gave in, accepting a continuation of the dialogue so as not to lose the progress on the fight against warming, the effects of which already threaten them directly. While saying “extremely disappointed”.
“It’s an insult to the millions of people whose lives are being ravaged by the climate crisis,” commented Teresa Anderson, from the NGO ActionAid International.
The face of the global youth climate movement, Greta Thunberg, was no more tender, denouncing on Twitter “a tsunami of greenwashing” in an attempt to pass this Glasgow Pact as “a step in the right direction”.