Global leaders can point to signs of actual progress in the climate agreement reached on Saturday. But the earth is still moving towards dangerous warming levels.
The purpose of these talks is to get countries to announce ambitious carbon reduction commitments to prevent the world from warming above pre-industrial levels by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
That didn’t happen.Despite some new promises, the old promises were repackaged into new, independent group analysis Climate Action Tracker It was found that adding all the short-term commitments together, the world could heat up by 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit) this century.
This is better than the road before the world Paris Agreement Six years ago, scientists predicted that the temperature would rise by nearly 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). But the consequences are still catastrophic, leading to more deadly wildfires and floods, famines and the extinction of more species.
The following are the achievements of the negotiators and the unresolved issues.
This side deal is the highlight
This year’s summit is unusual. Normally, the main event is the final agreement, which is painfully finalized in two weeks of daily negotiations between representatives from nearly 200 countries. This time, most of the action took place on the sidelines:
- Nearly 100 countries have joined the global commitment to limit methane emissions, which is a more polluting greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Many more people have signed agreements to prevent further deforestation by 2030.
- Consortiums of countries, cities, and automakers including Ford, General Motors, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz have pledged to phase out sales of new fossil fuel vehicles in “leading markets” by 2040 and 2035.
- More than 40 countries have pledged to phase out coal and stop the construction of coal-fired power plants by 2030, helping to eliminate the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases.
- In order to test whether industrialized countries have the ability to help developing countries switch to cleaner energy, South Africa has reached an agreement with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union. Coal transformation.
- The United States, Denmark and other countries have agreed to strive to achieve zero emissions in the shipping industry by 2050 and create at least six zero-emission routes. If these changes are implemented, the government may require, for example, that only emission-free ships can travel from Shanghai to Los Angeles.
Environmental advocates say there are reasons to be skeptical about many of these agreements. The deforestation countries Brazil and Indonesia have joined the deforestation pledge. Some of the world’s largest coal-burning countries, including China, Australia and India, have not signed a commitment to phase out fossil fuels.
But Sarah Ladislaw, managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent clean energy research institute in Colorado, said that the level of deals reached at the summit was a “great sign of success.” She said that the state, industry, investors, and philanthropists are cooperating more than ever to reach side deals that can have a huge impact, adding that they shouldn’t be judged solely on whether “very big new things” appear at the meeting. Meeting. The formal negotiation process.
What happened next?
The summit inspired a series of new climate commitments by governments and industry. But in the coming weeks and months, government officials and researchers will pay close attention to whether they will lead to specific actions.
Biden’s spending bill faces an uncertain future.A sort of New Supreme Court Case Bills introduced by West Virginia and other coal states may prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon pollution from power plants. If the Democrats lose their majority in Congress in the midterm elections, Biden is likely to find a way to reduce emissions in the future blocked by the Republicans.
The Climate Action Tracker’s report found that out of all countries’ commitments to achieve zero emissions, only four governments—the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Chile, and the European Union—have detailed plans to achieve this goal.
In addition, many of the major challenges raised at the beginning of the summit remain unresolved, including whether rich countries will come up with their previous pledge to provide developing countries with an annual funding of 100 billion US dollars by 2020 to help them transition to cleaner energy.
Negotiations may continue at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January and the next meeting of energy ministers around the world to be held in Pittsburgh at the end of 2022.
“We got all these promises. We got all these promises,” Ladislaw said. “But now we will see what countries are preparing to do.”
Apart from swagger, what else happened between the United States and China?
From the beginning of the summit, there were many doubts about whether China and the United States are willing to cooperate on climate issues.The absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping led President Biden to publicly criticize him for not attending the summit – an accusation that prompted a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Accuse the U.S. Only provide “empty words” rather than specific climate policies.
Despite the fierce rhetoric, US and Chinese officials have been cooperating for months. These countries issued a statement on Wednesday, promising to shelve their differences and “raise ambitions in the 2020s” to tackle climate change.
Kelly Sims Gallagher, a professor of energy and environmental sciences, said that the agreement itself mainly reaffirms previous commitments, but the envoys of the two countries together generate about 40% of global emissions, even if A vague goal can also agree with the fact that it is “confidence building.” The policies of the Fletcher School of Tufts University.
Gallagher said: “We are all in this truly highly politicized environment, and all this shows that they are trying to inject some momentum into the negotiations.”
What did the U.S. leave on the table
“The United States has appeared,” Biden said at the summit. He touted U.S. involvement in the negotiations and apologized for former President Trump. Withdraw from the Paris Agreement, The country since then RejoinHe called on other countries to increase their climate targets, saying “We only have a short window to increase our ambitions.”
But at several critical moments, the United States was clearly absent.
The White House did not join the pledge to phase out coal in the next few decades, although the decline of coal as a source of electricity in the United States has accelerated significantly. The United States has also not signed an agreement to phase out gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, and together with China and Japan, it refused to support an agreement. If all three countries-some of the world’s largest auto markets-support the agreement, the agreement may be Have a greater impact on it.
Experts said that the decision to abandon these commitments fully illustrates the impact of domestic politics in the United States and the coal, oil and gas industries. US negotiators may also be reluctant to confront Senator Joe Manchin III, a centrist Democrat from Coal State, West Virginia. If the president’s biggest climate policy is to be approved, he will need his support. Despite the reduction measures, the Democratic spending bill faces an uphill battle in Congress.
Young climate activists expressed their views on the streets
Thousands of climate activists head to Glasgow All countries are required to speed up their actions to deal with climate change. Many of them were young protesters, including Greta Thunberg of Sweden and Vanessa Nakate, an activist from Uganda, who gained international recognition by publicly appealing to world leaders for failing to act and ignoring the demands of developing countries.
Summit attendees said that this year’s COVID-19 agreement makes it more difficult for protesters to face international leaders in person. However, in addition to formal negotiations, there are side events, group discussions and demonstrations, which provide a platform for activists to express their dissatisfaction.
They may have affected the tone of the proceedings. There are some boastful progress claims, but these are often admitted that mathematics does not add up and more reductions must be made to control global warming and ease.
“Let me emphasize as much as possible: the work is not done,” John F. Kerry, Biden’s special envoy for climate change, said at a press conference earlier this month. “But if we persist, it is feasible.”