The G20 on climate was disappointing, despite a unanimous final statement. Now hopes are pinned on Cop26 in Glasgow. Where fundamental issues have to be addressed, first of all, the issues of adaptation to climate change.
Statements and concrete facts
For those accustomed to facing a certain dose of cynicism, the endless discussion between countries on the issue of climate change, Minister Singolani’s dismay – which matured at the end of the G20 meeting in Naples – may not have sounded particularly surprising. .
As is often the case, the meeting ended with a clear unanimous declaration, but with a clear division in practical and political terms. And all this despite the efforts of Minister Singolani, who was the landowner, and climate envoy John Kerry, who brought the wishes and great commitment of President Biden and the US administration to climate change issues.
The G20 is an international forum made up of 19 countries and the European Union, which includes the world’s major developed and emerging economies. It represents 85 percent of the world’s GDP, two-thirds of the population, 75 percent of international trade, and only 80 percent of emissions. However, it remains a heterogeneous group not only from the point of view of income, but also from the point of view of the structure of the energy system. This includes large energy consuming countries such as China and the US, and producers such as Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada. Above all, the states that are part of it are not aligned with respect to climate policy. As planned, the EU and the US are faithful to the idea of reducing carbon dioxide emissions very quickly, while countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico or Saudi Arabia are certainly more cautious.
What’s left in the agreement?
From a practical – and political point of view, the absence of an agreement on the use of coal and the need to control emissions to a value consistent with a temperature increase of no more than 1.5 °C makes the agreement practically useless. within the text of final release, which is not easy to explain to non-experts, in seven dense pages, the words “coal” or “fossils” are not even present. References to the Paris Agreements are rare and all but vague. Frankly, after years of a turbulent Trump administration, communication channels between the EU and the United States on these issues have certainly improved and it is reasonable to expect much from renewed cooperation.
However, the subject matter remains, which already existed at the time the Kyoto Protocol was signed, almost 25 years ago. Less industrialized countries do not intend to take on obligations that are minimally comparable to those of the European Union or the United States. It is also important to note that while we continue to see China as a country worthy of all our attention, there are others – just to stay in the G20 context – such as India, Indonesia, Brazil. should enjoy the same interest.
Three months after the Glasgow conference (Cop 26) – in which Italy is the co-organiser – it is therefore necessary that the G20 results, although unsatisfactory, align with the expectations that have matured in recent months at Cop26. Postponed and then reconstituted due to Covid, the Scottish Conference intends to shine a beacon on some of the fundamental issues of dialogue.
The first pertains to the topic of adaptation to climate change as it was noted that attention in various meetings is often more focused on issues related to mitigation. In contrast, there are many arguments that protecting people and nature from the effects of climate change, by strengthening adaptation and support, should be at the heart of the package of decisions to be taken in Glasgow. It is possible that COP26 could relaunch a broader reflection on the priorities for adaptation, thereby further advancing the Global Goals on Adaptation (GGA).
The GGA is a key component of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to improve adaptability, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change in the context of limiting global temperature rise to as close to 1.5 °C as possible. at 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.
The issue of reducing emissions has always been central to the COP debate and is also central to issue 26. Although this was not discussed in detail at the G20 conference, it is clear that the science points to the need for a significant increase in emissions. Collective effort to keep the temperature rise at 1.5°C. The new IPCC report – set to be published in the second half of next year – together with the Paris Agreement provides a clear mechanism to ensure that efforts go in the right direction in an ongoing and potentially shared and ambitious process. To give an example, in recent weeks several countries have expressed their intention to introduce NDCs (national fixed contribution) Much more ambitious than in the past concerning 2030.
Reaching established emissions reduction targets will be necessary over the next decade, but it is often pointed out that there is still a long way to go and investments, particularly those related to the energy sector, are pointed out. Not always the right direction. The International Energy Agency has recently said a very serious and very clear word about it.
In anticipation of the Glasgow conference, several countries highlighted the importance of Global Stocktake. The mechanism – envisioned in the Paris Agreement – commits countries to consider the global budget every five years to assess the collective progress of countries towards the long-term objectives of the agreement. The purpose of the evaluation process is to inform the next round of NDCs to raise their level of ambition and also provide an opportunity to assess the need for enhanced action and support.
Finally, many see COP26 as an opportunity to recognize the growing number of commitments to climate or carbon neutrality (net zero emissions) and to encourage all governments to adopt these commitments by reflecting these commitments in their long-term strategies. indicated in. (LTS).
So we look forward to the results of Cop26 with confidence, in the hope that they will be more concrete than the G20, and look forward to the fundamental structural changes coming to Europe for various recovery plans.
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