A month before COP26 on climate, the planet’s leaders are in a rush from all sides to act quickly and forcefully to stop a “catastrophic” warming, but between the Covid-19 crisis and the anger of the most vulnerable, the the negotiations are announced stormy.
States around the world will have from October 31 to November 12 to negotiate in Glasgow, Scotland, and make a more concrete commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We can save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday before ministers from some 50 countries met to prepare for this crucial deadline.
In August, the UN climate experts (IPCC) warned about the risk of reaching the threshold of + 1.5 ° C of warming around 2030, ten years earlier than estimated.
Faced with the relentless observation of science, and the devastating floods, storms, heat waves and fires that hit every continent, the solution is unequivocal: we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by profoundly reforming our methods of production and consumption.
“It’s a race against time,” Patricia Espinosa, a UN climate official, told AFP.
According to the latest UN assessment, current state commitments would lead to a “catastrophic” warming of 2.7 ° C, far from the goal of the Paris agreement to keep this warming well below +2 ° C in comparison. with the pre-industrial. it was, if possible + 1.5 ° C.
In this context, the objectives of COP26 are ambitious: keep the 1.5 ° C target “within reach” aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, mobilize financing, accelerate adaptation to shocks.
An ambition that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson summed up in four words: “Coal, cars, cash and trees”, referring to the transition to clean energy and electric vehicles, the aid promised to developing countries and the cessation of capital. of deforestation.
– Trust at half mast –
“Failure is still a possibility but we cannot, we must not, accept it,” insisted Antonio Guterres.
Among the explosive issues, the still unfulfilled promise of developed countries to increase their assistance to poor countries to $ 100 billion per year by 2020 to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. And solidarity in general between the North, responsible for global warming, and the South, in the first line before the impacts.
“I imagine there will be a lot of anger and disappointment, there is a huge lack of confidence,” says Tasneem Essop, sponsor of the Climate Action Network that brings together more than 1,500 NGOs.
Furthermore, with Covid-19, “this COP takes place at a time when developing countries are deeply feeling the burden and suffering, following the reluctance of rich countries to stand in solidarity with the poorest to provide vaccines” he told AFP. .
Fears of unequal access to Glasgow linked to the virus further adds to the tensions, despite vaccines offered by the British to participants who wanted them and their promise of hotel funding for those subject to quarantine.
“We remain concerned about the possibility of sending our delegates to COP26, to negotiate key issues related to climate change, which will have such a profound impact on our peoples,” lamented on Twitter the president of the Group of Countries, Sonam P. Less developed Wangi.
– And China? –
British COP President Alok Sharma on Thursday acknowledged the concerns of some countries, especially the small Pacific islands, but said he was working to resolve the issues. Registrations for the COP are “very good” and “more than 100 leaders have confirmed their presence in person” for the November 1-2 summit, he said.
But it is above all because of the participation of representatives of civil society, an essential link in these climate conferences, that the NGOs are concerned about.
A few weeks before the start of the negotiations (from October 31 to November 12), observers note, however, some positive signs. In particular, the announcement by the United States of its intention to double its climate aid to poor countries by increasing it to 11.4 billion dollars a year, and that of China, which has pledged to stop building coal-fired power plants abroad.
However, the real question remains “what will China do” about its domestic commitments, says Alden Meyer, an analyst with the E3G think tank.
President Xi Jinping announced a year ago to target carbon neutrality by 2060 and peak emissions “around 2030,” but the country responsible for more than a quarter of global emissions has failed to deliver. Agreement. More than 50 countries are still missing, including India.
On the way to Glasgow, the G20 summit in late October will give an idea.
“The optimistic scenario would be for the G20 to give Glasgow a boost,” said Alden Meyer. “The least optimistic would be a dead end and a Glasgow summit without a real unity” of these countries responsible for 80% of emissions, he worries.