President fought with tears: these are the resolutions of the World Climate Conference

President fought with tears: these are the resolutions of the World Climate Conference

the president sheds tears
These are the resolutions of the World Climate Conference

After overnight meetings, massive street protests and heated last-minute discussions, the Glasgow Climate Agreement has finally come into force. The decision-making process has some bright spots, but it also brings bitter disappointment. Climate activist Thunberg strikes a disastrous balance.

At the end there were tears of anger and despair, but also cheer: After two weeks of difficult negotiations, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland called on the world’s countries to phase out coal burning for the first time, harmful to the climate. The “Glasgow Climate Pact” approved on Saturday evening by nearly 200 countries also called for the removal of “inefficient” subsidies for oil, gas and coal. However, the wording was weakened at the last minute under pressure from China and India. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schultz called the deal “historic”.

On the other hand, Greta Thunberg, the world’s most famous climate activist, strikes a disastrous balance. “COP26 is over. Here’s a quick summary: blah, blah, blah,” tweeted the Swede. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his disenchantment with the result. “This is an important step, but it is not enough. It is time to go into emergency mode,” Guterres wrote on Twitter.

The massive convention, with around 40,000 participants, was scheduled to end on Friday, but was pushed to late Saturday due to hours of debate. The most important resolutions at a glance:

call to bid farewell to coal

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermann expressed his great disappointment that demand for an exit from coal had weakened over the past few metres. Instead of a phase-out, pressure from heavily coal-dependent countries China and India is now only a step-by-step step-down. When several states complained about water shortage shortly before the final vote, British COP26 president Alok Sharma shed tears. “I beg your pardon for the way it went,” said the host. He added: “It is also of fundamental importance that we protect this package.”

After the hammer’s last blow, Schultz, the federal environment minister, said that “something that really changed the world” had been successful in Glasgow. “It is now clear around the world that there will be a run out of coal and an end to fossil subsidies,” he said. Greenpeace boss Martin Kaiser restricted, however, that the proposals lacked “clarity and speed”, under pressure from the oil, gas and coal industries.

1.5 degree commitment to goal

In the final declaration, the countries jointly committed themselves to the goal of stopping global warming at 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era. For this, they must accelerate their previously inadequate climate protection plans by the end of 2022. But it is voluntary, there is no compulsion. If the 1.5-degree limit is to remain within reach, global emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases will drop by 45 percent this decade, the declaration said.

help for poor countries

More financial aid was also promised for poor countries to help them adapt to the deadly consequences of the climate crisis in many places. Millions of people are already faced with more frequent and prolonged droughts and heat waves or more violent storms and floods. Notably, this financial assistance is to be doubled by 2025, i.e. from about 20 billion to 40 billion US dollars per year (about 35 billion euros.)

Help after climate damage

For the first time, the long-standing demand by poor countries to set up money pots to aid in the event of damage and loss has been taken up. It refers to the destruction or forced resettlement after a drought, storm or hurricane. States have been asked to give money for this. However, no concrete amount has been given for this. Only “technical support” should be available after damaging events, but not full damages paid.

Oxfam climate expert Jan Kowalzig called it “bitter that once again the poor countries of the Global South, particularly those badly hit by the climate crisis, were marginalised”. His call for support in tackling the damage and destruction caused by climate change – once the threshold of adaptation is reached – has gone almost unheard.

The Complete Rulebook for the Paris Agreement

Jochen Flasbarth, the Secretary of State for the Environment, praised the proposals on the so-called rulebook of the Paris climate accord, where points had been open for years. From the very beginning the aim was to get rid of the “wreck of the legal negotiations”. “It all worked out,” Flasbarth said.

Deliberations were largely delayed by hours of heated debate on Saturday. Politicians stood together, talking and discussing in wild gestures. Timmerman eventually implored the delegates: “I beg you, accept this lesson.” The host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, hailed the decisions as a big step, but pointed out that there was still much work to be done. “I hope we look back at COP26 in Glasgow as the beginning of the end of climate change.” Greenpeace boss Kaiser considers the planned traffic light coalition in the federal government obliged to take immediate measures. “Therefore it is absolutely necessary to phase out coal by 2030. From today our tax money cannot be used for coal, oil and gas.” The next summit, COP27, will take place in Egypt in November 2022.

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