What commitment have world leaders mentioned at Annual Climate Change Summit COP26?
Countries have struck a climate change deal at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) after two weeks of negotiations in Scotland. Though many countries were not comfortable with a last-minute change to the text replacing the call to phase “down” instead of what should have been a call to phase “out” for the use of coal; they’ve made pledges which are unlikely to limit global warming to the 1.5C(2.7F) so that countries can avert disastrous weather events.
To achieve the target, global emissions should be decreased by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. Nearly 200 countries had agreed to limit global warming to 2C(3.6F) or ideally 1.5(2.7F) under the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Countries Pledge to Reduce Global Warming:
Putting An End To Deforestation
Declaration on Forest and Land Use by Glasgow Leaders signed by more than 141 countries, aims to conserve and restore forest over the next decade and facilitate policies to keep global temperature rise below 2C(3.6F).
The deal includes a $19.2bn pledge which comes out to be the first major agreement of the summit.
“What creates further momentum is that you have these financial pledges … supporting rainforest countries in achieving their targets,”Larsen head of policy at the Rainforest Foundation Norway.
India, Bolivia, and Venezuela which happen to be the top 20 countries with the largest percentage of land area covered by forest were absent from this agreement.
Getting rid of coal
As major international banks committed to ending international public financing of new coal power by the end of 2021; more than 40 countries agreed to phase out their use of coal power while 23 countries signed the COP26 Coal to Clean Power Transition Agreement committing for the first time to put an end to contract and issue permits for new coal plants. However, some of the largest coal producers and consumers were absent from the agreement, including China, which was responsible for 54% of global coal consumption last year.
Other notable absentees were India, the US, and Australia, who alongside China represent almost 3/4 of coal utilization.
Reacting to calls on eliminating coal and petroleum subsidies on the final day of COP26 summit, India’s Climate Minister Bhupender Yadav said; his country still has to “deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication”. The last agreement would allow new coal-based power plants to be constructed if they are able to capture and store their carbon emissions.
Global Methane Pledge, which covers countries that are responsible for nearly half of all emissions related to human activity, was proposed by the US and the EU in September. It expects to reduce global methane emission by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. The top three emitters of methane – China, Russia, and India did not sign. Methane is considered a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide because of its potency to trap heat in the atmosphere. The latest research published in Glasgow earlier this week says that short-term goals set out by countries at COP26 will see global temperature rise by 2.4C(4.2F) by the end of the year, which is far exceeding the 2C(3.6F) limit of the Paris accord.
New net-zero pledges
The primary objective at COP26 was for countries to achieve net-zero emissions, the balance between greenhouse gases released and removed from the atmosphere – a target they are urged to achieve by 2050.
This responsibility includes a promise to secure 50% of India’s energy from renewable resources by 2030. Nigeria also swore net-zero, planning to achieve it by 2060. A report by Climate Action Tracker portrays that only 6% of countries pledging net-zero have robust national net-zero targets and that more governments need to work on their objectives.
China-US climate cooperation
The US and China are two largest emitters of CO2, have signed an unexpected joint declaration that promises to boost climate cooperation over the next decade. The agreement seeks reduction in methane emissions, tackling deforestation, and managing decarbonization. China accounts for 28% of global CO2 emissions and the US for 15%. Though the commitment has been accepted, it lacks substantial steps to meet the 1.5C(2.7F) Paris Agreement goal.
25 countries have pledged to make farming more sustainable and agreed to invest in green agricultural practices. The UK aims for 75% of farmers to adopt low-carbon practices by 2030.