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The COP26 climate summit is over. Here’s what world leaders agreed to : NPR

Final minute resistance on the COP26 summit over efforts to part out coal left many international locations upset, however the settlement nonetheless marked new progress.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs


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Final minute resistance on the COP26 summit over efforts to part out coal left many international locations upset, however the settlement nonetheless marked new progress.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs

World leaders signed off on a new climate change agreement after two weeks of intense negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland. Whereas some international locations dedicated to extra formidable cuts to heat-trapping air pollution, many countries didn’t comply with rein in emissions quick sufficient for the world to keep away from the worst harm from climate-driven storms, warmth waves and droughts.

Nonetheless, the summit’s progress implies that aim might nonetheless be inside attain, specialists say — if international locations observe via on their guarantees.

The settlement was constructed from compromises on many fronts, together with a final minute effort by India to weaken efforts to phase-out coal. Nonetheless, it broke new floor in making a worldwide consensus to transition away from fossil fuels and to hurry up international locations’ ambitions to chop emissions quicker.

As negotiators met in closed-door classes, 1000’s of activists crammed the streets to remind them the world has lower than a decade to get greenhouse gases beneath management. Emissions must fall round 45% by 2030 to offer the world an opportunity of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 (2.7 levels Fahrenheit). As a substitute, they’re anticipated to rise virtually 14% over the subsequent 9 years.

“The negotiations have been removed from simple,” mentioned COP26 President Alok Sharma. “Each considered one of you and the nations you symbolize have stepped right here in Glasgow, agreeing to do what it takes to maintain 1.5 alive.”

After 4 years of absence beneath former President Trump, the U.S. sought to regain its local weather credibility at these talks, urging different nations to be extra formidable whereas making an attempt to ensure its own policies aren’t killed by a divided Congress.

Growing international locations, already struggling harm from extra intense hurricanes and droughts, made a unified plea for local weather justice. Richer international locations are liable for the majority of local weather emissions, they mentioned, however poorer international locations are struggling probably the most. In the long run, they had been among the many most upset as COP26 ended, leaving principally with guarantees that their pleas can be addressed sooner or later.

“For us, it is a matter of survival,” mentioned Aminath Shauna, Minister of Atmosphere, Local weather Change and Know-how of the Maldives. “Please do us the courtesy to acknowledge that it doesn’t deliver hope to our hearts however serves as one more dialog the place we put our houses on the road, whereas those that produce other choices resolve how rapidly they wish to act to avoid wasting those that do not.”

What did not occur: nations nonetheless aren’t slicing emissions quick sufficient

As the beginning of COP26 approached on Oct. 31, main polluting international locations launched a flurry of latest pledges about future emissions cuts. India, a state closely reliant on coal energy, agreed to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. Saudi Arabia pledged to go net-zero by 2060, and Brazil announced 2050.

Greater than 100 international locations signed a pledge on the summit to chop methane emissions 30% by 2030. The potent greenhouse gasoline has 80 occasions the heat-trapping energy of carbon dioxide when first emitted into the environment. One other coalition of nations agreed to halt deforestation by 2030, together with the heavily-forested nations of Brazil and Russia.

U.S. Local weather Envoy John Kerry negotiates on the final day of the COP26 local weather summit. Many countries mentioned they had been strolling away upset, however supported the settlement to maintain local weather motion shifting ahead.

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U.S. Local weather Envoy John Kerry negotiates on the final day of the COP26 local weather summit. Many countries mentioned they had been strolling away upset, however supported the settlement to maintain local weather motion shifting ahead.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, held agency to its plan permitting emissions to rise till 2030, finally declining to net-zero by 2060. However in a shock announcement, the U.S. and China agreed to work together to “strengthen and speed up local weather motion and cooperation” within the near-term.

“It is the primary time China and america have stood up — the 2 greatest emitters on the planet — and mentioned, ‘We will work collectively to speed up the discount,’ ” Kerry told NPR.

Nonetheless added collectively, the pledges is not going to scale back emissions quick sufficient to maintain the world inside the crucial limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, as agreed to in the Paris climate talks. As a substitute, the world would be on track for 1.8 degrees Celsius of warming, in line with an evaluation from the Worldwide Power Company.

1.8 levels Celsius is an enchancment over the earlier pledges. Nevertheless it relies upon completely on international locations following via on their guarantees, and plenty of have offered few concrete particulars. Even with previous commitments, many governments have not backed up phrases with actions. Based mostly on what international locations are at present doing on the bottom, the world is headed toward 2.7 degrees Celsius of warming, or virtually 5 levels Fahrenheit.

What did occur: international locations agreed to hurry up their local weather planning

The Glasgow summit marked a serious second for world motion — it was the primary time nations up to date their plans to restrict emissions for the reason that historic Paris settlement in 2015. Usually, international locations have agreed to launch new plans, often known as “nationally decided contributions,” each 5 years.

However with present local weather commitments falling quick, many growing international locations advocated for rushing up that schedule, arguing that ready one other 5 years would imply essential time is misplaced. Coalitions of poorer nations, just like the Climate Vulnerable Form, urged richer international locations to come back again with stronger pledges yearly to chop their emissions.

“The security of my kids and yours hangs within the steadiness,” mentioned Marshall Islands local weather envoy Tina Stege within the remaining days of negotiations. “It is time for us to degree up. We have to maintain returning to the desk.”

China was considered one of a number of delegations closely reliant on fossil fuels that pushed back on that idea, urging that international locations be given “house and time” to resolve on and implement their local weather plans.

In the long run, the ultimate settlement held as firmly as a consensus settlement can on rushing up progress, saying it “requests” international locations “revisit and strengthen” their plans by 2022. Some local weather specialists say, whereas it isn’t binding, it a minimum of retains political stress on main emitters within the near-term.

What did not occur: no compensation for local weather losses in growing international locations

As increased temperatures gas extra harmful storms, heatwaves and fires, many poorer international locations face disasters that may value billions of {dollars} and add as much as excess of the dimensions of their financial system. Intense droughts are wiping out crops, and rising seas are forcing complete villages to relocate.

Growing international locations introduced a agency message to the Glasgow summit: we’re affected by an issue we have completed little to trigger. They proposed that wealthier international locations compensate them for climate change-related “loss and damage.”

On the summit, Scotland offered the first contribution for a loss and damage fund, two million kilos, an indication that many thought might pave the best way for extra nations to hitch in.

Local weather activists crammed the streets of Glasgow, Scotland all through the two-week COP26 summit, demanding world leaders maintain the planet to the essential 1.5 diploma Celsius threshold.

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Local weather activists crammed the streets of Glasgow, Scotland all through the two-week COP26 summit, demanding world leaders maintain the planet to the essential 1.5 diploma Celsius threshold.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs

Growing nations argued, on the very least, a COP26 settlement might set up a fund, or “facility” in United Nations jargon, with particulars to be labored out within the years to come back. However in negotiations, the concept ran right into a brick wall. Wealthier international locations, together with the U.S., did not assist it.

As a substitute, the ultimate compromise is that discussions, named the “Glasgow dialogue,” will start between nations about how loss and harm funding may work. International locations additionally agreed to offer extra “technical help” for loss and harm points by supporting the Santiago Community, a U.N. entity created in 2019 to offer recommendation and steering for growing international locations to attenuate harm from local weather change.

With 2 million people at risk of starvation in Kenya attributable to an excessive drought this yr, Keriako Tobiko of the nation’s Ministry of Atmosphere and Forestry known as the compromise a disappointment.

“What we bear in mind isn’t giving cash to consultants to fly round and to come back educate us, train us about what loss and harm is,” he says.

What did occur: the world agreed to part out fossil fuels… type of

World leaders have met 26 occasions for the reason that Nineteen Nineties to hash out advanced local weather agreements. Whereas COP delegates have known as for elevated use of cleaner vitality sources, they’ve shied away from explicitly calling on the world to cease utilizing fossil fuels. Oil-and-coal-producing international locations, like Saudi Arabia and Australia, have traditionally objected to any point out of phasing them out.

However scientists warn that to restrict warming to 1.5 levels Celsius, a minimum of 90% of coal reserves and 60% of oil and gasoline reserves must stay underground by 2050.

As early drafts of the COP26 settlement had been launched, local weather activists had been thrilled to see that it urged international locations to “speed up the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.” In negotiations, the U.S. spoke out about ending subsidies for oil and gasoline at residence.

“That is the definition of madness,” Kerry mentioned. “We’re permitting [it] to feed the very drawback we’re right here to attempt to remedy.”

In later drafts, the language was tweaked to reference phasing out “unabated” coal energy and “inefficient” subsidies. That opens the door for some coal energy to stay, if its emissions are captured earlier than reaching the environment. China, Iran, South Africa, India and Nigeria nonetheless opposed it, arguing that growing international locations have a proper to make use of fossil fuels as richer international locations have completed.

Growing nations got here to the COP26 local weather summit hoping for assist with the losses they’re already experiencing from local weather change. Many are leaving upset.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs


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Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs


Growing nations got here to the COP26 local weather summit hoping for assist with the losses they’re already experiencing from local weather change. Many are leaving upset.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs

“How can anybody count on that growing international locations could make guarantees about phasing out fossil gas and coal subsidies?” mentioned Bhupender Yadav, India’s Cupboard Minister for Atmosphere, Forest and Local weather Change. “Growing international locations nonetheless need to take care of their improvement agenda and poverty eradication.”

In a final minute transfer, India sought to additional weaken the wording by altering the “phase-out” of coal to “phase-down.” Different international locations reluctantly conceded so as to stop the whole settlement from falling aside.

“It hurts deeply to see that brilliant spot dim,” mentioned Stege of the Marshall Islands. “We settle for this transformation with the best reluctance. We accomplish that solely, and I actually wish to stress solely, as a result of there are vital parts of this package deal that individuals in my nation want as a lifeline for his or her future.”

What did not occur: wealthier international locations nonetheless have not offered $100 billion

Growing international locations arrived on the Glasgow summit deeply distrustful of a course of that has completed little, over the a long time, to match the urgency of the local weather threat–and the harm they’re already enduring.

Twelve years in the past, wealthier international locations just like the U.S. promised to provide $100 billion in “climate finance” — funding to assist weak nations scale back their emissions with renewable vitality, cleaner transportation and different tasks. The cash can also be earmarked for adaptation tasks to assist communities defend themselves from local weather impacts like storms and sea degree rise.

By 2020, richer nations pledged to offer that quantity yearly via each authorities and the non-public sector, however up to now, have fallen wanting that aim. In 2019, international locations hit about $80 billion in local weather finance. A lot of that funding got here within the type of loans, as an alternative of grants, which growing international locations say additional strains their local weather efforts as they battle to repay them.

Nearly all of the funding has additionally gone to emissions reductions tasks, generally known as “mitigation.” International locations with fewer assets say that is left a serious shortfall in adaptation funding, which helps stop harm from future local weather disasters.

The U.S., Japan, Norway, Sweden and others introduced new local weather finance pledges this yr, however the $100 billion aim remains to be elusive and certain will not be met till 2022 or 2023. That quantity can also be far beneath the necessity. A U.N. report estimates that funding for local weather adaptation must be five to 10 times greater than what’s being spent now.

To assist fill that hole, negotiators from a bunch of African nations tried to focus countries on a local weather finance aim past $100 billion. In early drafts, the settlement included a quantity: a minimum of $1.3 trillion yearly by 2030, with half devoted to adaptation tasks.

Within the remaining compromise, international locations agreed to start a two-year work plan ending in 2024 to decide on how local weather finance will ramp as much as meet the wants of probably the most weak nations sooner or later. Within the meantime, developed international locations agreed to collectively double funding for local weather adaptation tasks by 2025.

“It’s inexcusable that developed international locations failed to fulfill their dedication to ship $100 billion yearly beginning in 2020 whilst they supply a whole bunch of billions of {dollars} in subsidies for fossil fuels annually,” mentioned Ani Dasgupta, President of the World Sources Institute, in a press release.

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