COP26, THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

Extreme weather events related to climate change, including heatwaves, floods and wildfires, are intensifying. The last decade was the warmest on record and, governments agree that urgent collective action is needed.

In few days, leaders from more than 200 countries will meet in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to discuss the possibility of reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Claudia Moray, a member of GBM and Specialist in Environmental Law, who has been accredited to intervene at COP26 in Glasgow, presents her analysis of the expectations of COP26.

The big question that everyone is asking is why Glasgow is the most important Climate Summit since Paris in 2015.

The answer is simple: it is the moment of truth. According to the international treaty signed in Paris six years ago, the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – this includes all the countries of the world – must present a document called Nationally Determined Contribution.

All countries will have to explain how they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to comply with the Paris Agreement, which consists of keeping global warming below 2 ° C of pre-industrial levels and continue to work to limit it even furthermore up to 1.5 ° C. 

Humanity has been warned about the dangers of climate change, a threat that it is about to end up with the planet if the necessary changes are not made.

The reduction of GHE must be continuous to avoid exceeding the 1.5-degree increase in temperature.

At present, the planet has already risen 1.1 degrees measured concerning the period 1850-1900.  We only have nine years left to achieve this virtuous goal. Although we live with some consequences, we still have time.

For this reason, according to Moray, the success of the decisions taken in Glasgow will be fundamentally related to four aspects:

1) To fully apply the Paris Agreement, governments must conclude on the pending issues such as Article 6, the only one without regulation and which is one of the most controversial parts to reach a consensus.

Article 6 is the rule for the new global carbon market under the Paris Agreement, it presents the challenge of the transition from what was established by the Kyoto Protocol (it established binding commitments to reduce emissions only for developed countries) to the new Mechanism of Article 6.4. .

Now all countries have mitigation commitments and all countries could participate in the market by buying and selling. The main challenge is to achieve solid accounting rules to avoid double counting, that is, double counting under the mechanism of Article 6.4. That both countries (seller and buyer) count the reduction in their favor, one because they produced it and the other because they bought it.

It is important not to make past mistakes where, in some cases, human rights abuses were documented and many projects were found not to reduce emissions. To help address any problem related to human rights abuses, the new Article 6.4 mechanism should have a grievance and complaint mechanism that allows human rights abuses to be reported and dealt with appropriately.

2) That the promises made to developing countries be fulfilled, on the part of developed countries, which are the ones that have contributed the most to the problem and, therefore, are the ones that must mobilize one hundred billion dollars annually for climate finance .

The climate crisis is a global problem and requires a response from all the countries of the world. However, the poorest countries are less equipped to deal with climate change and are more vulnerable to its effects.

So far, according to the latest report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that rich countries have only mobilized US $ 79.6 billion of the 100 promised in 2019. The amount only grew by two percent over the previous year. Official figures for 2020 will not be available until 2022, but with COVID-19 that mobilization of funds was less.

3) It is critical that all countries reduce emissions and increase climate ambition, especially about adaptation, that is, to deal with the consequences, such as relocation, flood mitigation, emergency response, etc.

4) On the other hand, the financing of mitigation, that is, reducing emissions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport), focuses a lot on the mobilization of the private sector. So is expected an expansion of the role of public-private partnerships, public and private investments.And, of course, let no voice be left out. Although the pandemic poses challenges, this climate crisis requires greater citizen participation in the adoption of climate policies. Achieve to be a unit, with a common goal. Glasgow opens a huge door for cooperation between action nations and civil society organizations.

If the negotiations fail, the global average temperature will continue to rise, reaching 3ºC or even, in the worst-case scenario, 4ºC, compared to the pre-industrial era. Under this global umbrella, Argentina reaches this COP26, seeking a “climate unit” for Latin America. The central claim to developing countries is, as mentioned above, to request more funds to adapt to climate effects.

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