COP26 – Agreement started to accelerate the fight against global warming

AwareNovember 13, 2021, 9:09 pm

At COP26 in Glasgow, the final adoption of a text came after last-minute changes made by China and India on fossil fuels.


The 200 countries of the COP26 adopted, on Saturday, an agreement to accelerate the fight against global warming, without making sure to contain it at 1.5 ° C, or respond to requests for assistance from poor countries. Dubbed the “Glasgow Climate Pact”, the text was adopted after two weeks of grueling negotiations, with a hammer blow from the British president of the World Climate Conference, Alok Sharma.

“It is an insult to the millions of people whose lives are being devastated by the climate crisis …”

Teresa Anderson, from the international NGO ActionAid

Witness to the difficulty in reaching this agreement, the president of COP26 said, with a voice of emotion and tears in his eyes, “deeply regretful” for the last minute changes introduced on the issue of fossil fuels, at the request of China. and India. Previously, he estimated that the agreement marked the beginning of “a decade of growing ambition” on climate.

“Special national circumstances”

At the critical point of limiting temperatures, while the planet is, according to the UN, on a “catastrophic” warming trajectory of 2.7 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, the text calls on member states to increase more your reduction commitments. regularly as provided in the Paris Agreement, starting in 2022. But with the possibility of adjustments due to “particular national circumstances”, a point that has drawn criticism from NGOs about the true ambitions of the text.

In addition, the compromise found does not ensure compliance with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, limiting warming to “well below” 2 ° C and, if possible, 1.5 ° C. But it offers prospects for the presidency to British show success in their 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 consequent damages and victims.

“It’s soft, weak and the 1.5 ° C target is barely alive, but there is a sign that the Carbon Age is over. And that’s important, ”said Jennifer Morgan, head of Greenpeace International.

China and India force the way

The text also contains a mention, unpublished at this level, of fossil fuels, the main responsible for global warming and which are not even mentioned in the Paris Agreement.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 toned down throughout the versions and until the last minute before adoption in plenary, at the insistence of China and India in particular. The final version calls for “intensifying efforts to reduce carbon without CO2 capture systems and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” A “bitter pill to swallow”, but accepted “for the common good”, lamented the representative of Liechtenstein.

After a failure in the last two COPs, it has also managed to finalize the rules for the use of the Paris Agreement, in particular on the functioning of carbon markets that are supposed to help reduce emissions.

Poor poor countries

The explosive question of aid to poor countries, which at one point seemed to derail the negotiations, found no solution. Scared by the still unfulfilled promise of the richest to increase their climate aid in the South to 100 billion dollars annually from 2020, the poor countries, those least responsible for global warming but in the forefront of its impacts, asked to specific financing for the “losses and damages” they are already suffering.

But developed countries, especially the United States, which fears possible legal consequences, strongly opposed it. And reluctantly, poor countries gave in, accepting a continuation of the dialogue, so as not to lose progress in the fight against warming, the effects of which already threaten them directly. While saying “very disappointed”.

“It is an insult to the millions of people whose lives are being devastated by the climate crisis,” said Teresa Anderson of the NGO ActionAid International. The face of the global youth climate movement, Greta Thunberg, was no more tender, denouncing on Twitter “a tsunami of green washing” in an attempt to pass this Glasgow Pact as “a step in the right direction”.


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