Cop26: Progress for some, “blah blah blah” for Greta Thunberg … what to remember from the climate conference

the essential The few 200 countries of the COP 26 adopted an agreement on Saturday to speed up the fight against global warming, but without guaranteeing to keep the objective of containing it to 1.5 °. What to remember from these fifteen days of Cop ?

Before hammering out the adoption, the British president of this 26 th World Climate Conference, Alok Sharma, spoke said in a moved voice and tears in his eyes “deeply sorry” for this outcome. He had earlier estimated that the agreement “inaugurates a decade of growing ambition” on the climate.

The head of the UN has him, noted the weaknesses of this “Glasgow Pact”, warning that “the climatic catastrophe always knocks at the door”, the “political will” having failed to overcome the “contradictions” between countries.

Arrangements to fight against the increase in temperatures

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.

The compromise found does not, moreover, ensure compliance with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015: to limit warming “well below” of 2 ° C and if possible at 1.5 ° C.

But it offers prospects allowing the British presidency to show success in its objective 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.

Intensify efforts to reduce coal

“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,” challenged Jennifer Morgan, boss 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”.

With here again a mention of “special national circumstances”.

A “bitter pill to swallow”, but accepted “for the common good”, regretted the representative of Liechtenstein, summarizing many interventions by delegates.

No aid for poor countries

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 to 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.

But 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 of the NGO ActionAid International.

Blah blah blah?

The face of the global youth climate movement, Greta Thunberg, was more concise, once again calling the COP 26 as simple “blah blah blah “. “The real work continues outside of these rooms. And we’ll never, ever give up,” she promised on Twitter.

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