Status: 11/14/2021 1:12 AM.
Glasgow should go down in history as the pinnacle of bringing a global exit from coal. And that should bring the world to a limit of 1.5 degrees. What has been achieved? what not?
Self-commitment and their impact
So far, 151 countries have submitted new voluntary commitments (NDCs) on climate protection. This reduces the expected global temperature rise to 2.4 degrees by the end of the century. Far from the 1.5 degrees for which the states jointly strive. But it is also much better than the five to six degrees that was expected with a simple “business as usual”.
In addition, a quarter of countries still have to submit to such voluntary commitments and by 2025 there will be another tough period. New in Glasgow is requested to improve in the coming year. This goes on top of all for China and India, who have so far submitted very inadequate plans.
UN climate summit makes no clear commitment to phase out coal
Angela Ulmerick, NDR, daily topic at 11:15 pm, 11/14/2021
The final documents set out more than ever that the 1.5-degree limit needs quicker and more decisive action and that the annual amount of CO2 released should be practically halved by 2030. The pressure has increased on many levels.
If you look at the long-term declarations of intent from all the countries and assume that they start working on it immediately, the best position is currently at 1.8 degrees. On the other hand, if you look at the specific targets for 2030, emissions will continue to increase by then (plus 13.7 percent).
Announcements and Initiatives
Several climate protection initiatives have been launched or expanded in Glasgow. However, they are not binding and in many cases it is not possible to check whether they go beyond national commitments and what they bring.
There is an initiative to protect forests, there are many forums on the topic of coal and many countries have announced that fossil fuels will no longer be promoted abroad. US President Joe Biden’s methane initiative has been expanded. A group of states have agreed to accelerate the end of the internal combustion engine.
Germany has joined most of these initiatives, except for the Auto Initiative. Methane, the second most important greenhouse gas, and at least progress on forests could have a practical impact as well.
Industrialized countries already promised in 2009 that they wanted to raise US$100 billion annually from 2020 to help others eliminate fossil fuels and adapt to the consequences of climate change. It is about aid, but much more about loans and investments in modern technologies and structures, for example.
Profitable business is certainly possible for companies in industrialized countries. Yet the promise has not been fulfilled. The amount will probably not increase to this amount until 2023.
In the future – this is new in Glasgow – there will be a greater focus on distribution. So far, only 20 per cent of the funds have gone to adaptation measures. About half the amount was actually agreed upon. In Glasgow it has now been decided that appropriations will be at least doubled for adjustment. All this is initially limited to the period up to 2025.
How things will continue will now be clarified after the resolutions by 2024. The important thing is the criteria: the needs of the people affected. This can result in huge financial inflows, as developing countries keep their needs in the trillions.
loss and damage
For years, developing countries have been demanding a mechanism by which to compensate for the damage and loss caused by climate change. The floods on Ahar showed what it meant – 23 billion euros in damage. A rich country like Germany can do this. Many poor countries are more affected and have less resources. But industrialized countries fear that unaccountably high financial claims could arise. Germany is working with insurance companies on concepts that would make it manageable.
Now a secretariat is being set up to deal with the issue. There is no such thing as a financial institution, as sought by developing countries. But at least there is a chance. And Scotland made up the facts and provided £2 million, at least for a start. Germany has added ten million euros here.
from coal to renewable energy
Even the announcements of all-important countries that they want to operate climate-neutral by the middle of the century are a clear sign: in a climate-neutral economy, coal, oil and gas are no longer an essential role. can play a role (only through CCS, by separating CO2 from exhaust gases, deposited and stored underground – a time-consuming and costly process). This means that coal-fired power plants – if at all – can only be calculated with relatively short running times. Due to which they become very expensive.
In addition, the Glasgow text indicates that states should intensify their efforts to phase out coal. This will be tried using South Africa as an example. Some states, including Germany, have launched an initiative to enable the country to achieve an energy transition and thus prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Indonesia and several other Asian and African countries have expressed interest in getting involved.
Several countries recorded in Glasgow that they had already phased out coal. The most recent G20 decision has already stated that major countries no longer finance international coal projects. In Glasgow, the financial sector has also made it clear that it will no longer finance investments in coal-fired power stations or only those with high-risk surcharges.
Subsidies reduction for other fossil energies such as oil and gas products turned out to be weak. US climate envoy John Kerry described it as “insanity” that the money could have been used differently. Yet, the final text only states that “disabled subsidies” are to be cut. However, it opens the door to the imagination. Everyone can understand what they want.
Political Consequences for the United States and China
Surprisingly, the US and China issued a joint declaration on climate protection in Glasgow. You are building on the 2015 agreement between the Obama administration and Beijing that made the Paris Agreement possible in the first place. On the one hand, the current announcement is being seen as a political anchor for the changing relationship between the two countries.
On the other hand, the United States is bringing China back on board when it comes to international climate protection. President Xi Jinping was the only important head of state who did not visit Glasgow. After Paris and when Donald Trump was leading the United States, he was initially heavily involved in climate protection. But last year the conflict with the United States was an obstacle in other areas.
Without China, however, the problems cannot be solved. So far, Beijing has promised to cut its emissions around 2030. Quite the contrary: until then they will continue to grow. If this continues, there is no way to meet the 1.5 degree limit. China is responsible for about 30 percent of global emissions. Analysts say: China should push the latest date to 2025. Even though the current statement doesn’t say so, it improves the approach.
Rulebook for the Paris Agreement
Work on the rule book for the Paris Agreement has been going on since 2015. Many attempts have failed. It has now culminated in Glasgow. There are rules according to which states collect, calculate and report their national climate protection commitments. International cooperation between states on climate protection is also regulated. It makes perfect sense to invest a certain amount of money in climate protection not in your own country, but elsewhere, where you can get a lot more impact with it.
Much wild development took place under the old Kyoto Protocol. Credits were created that didn’t really benefit the climate. It should be better now under the Paris Agreement. States and companies can now make such cooperation according to the set rules. Important loopholes in this process have been rectified. There will be no double counting of tons of CO2 saved, the rules provide for comparison in the donor and recipient country so that it can be checked.
There will be no credit only for countries not cutting down their forests. But the cost was that the old climate certificates from before the Paris Agreement are now being transferred to the new regime. It would tear a hole, but at least its size is predictable and, given the huge increase in greenhouse gases in China and India, it is almost as small.
Responses to the Glasgow Climate Agreement vary
Werner Eckert, SWR, currently Glasgow, 11/14/2021 12:26 PM.
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