COP26: Intent & commitment is must to protect our future

Published : Tuesday, 2 November, 2021 at 12:00 AM

The global leaders, including Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have gathered as the COP26 began at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow on Sunday. The whole world is eyeing on to watch how much of their expectation on reducing climate vulnerabilities is being addressed through required actions. A total of 120 world leaders is going to attend this year’s conference and will deliver their conference speech. But it is very important that, the countries agree on delivering the goals set from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Though climate has been on the table for serious discussions for around two decades, it is a must that COP26 comes out with some serious commitment as the Mother Nature is already acting ferociously at different parts of the world.

PM Sheikh Hasina on Monday demanded rich countries’ immediate recognition to the vulnerable nations’ needs for finance to face climate change onslaughts particularly because 48 poorer territories are exposed to worst despite their only five percent contribution to the global emission. The premier said a common position of the climate summit could help in securing the annual 100 billion dollar for climate financing by the developed countries for the developing ones as promised in Paris Agreement. She asked the COP26 to find pragmatic, inclusive and locally-led solutions alongside a joint move of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and the Commonwealth countries to implement the Paris Agreement in tackling the climate change onslaughts.

The 2015 Paris Agreement is a landmark international accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. The agreement aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2�C above preindustrial levels, while pursuing the means to limit the increase to 1.5�C. The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time. The pact provides a pathway for rich nations to assist developing nations in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, and it creates a framework for the transparent monitoring, reporting, and ratcheting up of countries’ individual and collective climate goals.

Some of the key discussions in Glasgow will be about whether countries are doing what they promised in Paris. When it was signed, governments admitted the targets set would not limit global warming to 1.5�C. Because of this, they agreed to update them by 2020. Due to COVID-19, COP26 was delayed for a year and now those agreements will be up for discussions this year. All countries should have submitted new targets for reducing emissions ahead of Glasgow, but many have not come up with improved commitments and some major economies have no net zero target in place.

COP26 is expected to devise a plan for how countries will accelerate their emissions reduction pledges in future years. COP26 will almost certainly not deliver enough pledges to put the world firmly on course for 1.5�C. But a credible deal to ramp up ambition more frequently in the coming years could at least keep it alive. The conference’s British hosts are also lining up a set of side-deals on phasing out coal, clean vehicles, and deforestation.

Wealthy countries confirmed last week that they failed to meet a 2009 promise to deliver $100 billion annually by 2020 in climate finance to help poorer nations cut their own emissions and build resilient systems to weather worsening storms, floods and other climate impacts. That has stoked anger and mistrust among developing countries, and undermined rich nations’ requests that the developing world cut emissions faster. COP26 will need to produce a plan to make sure the $100 billion arrives. It will also start negotiations on a new climate finance goal for 2025 – and the rules to make sure rich countries cannot avoid delivering the money.

A bloc of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries is also demanding that Glasgow starts talks on financing to compensate them for the spiraling costs of climate change. Economists increasingly agree that cost of doing nothing – and letting climate change unfold unchecked – would be far higher. Another priority for COP26 is for negotiators from the nearly 200 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement to finish the rules to implement the accord. That includes thorny discussions on carbon markets, how countries will set climate targets in future, and finance.

There are a number of expectations from the world leaders that could be termed out of the box and are expected to be reflected in their speeches. A major thrust of that expectation is major world economies will make fresh commitments about climate change. For Example; US President Joe Biden is expected to make a fresh commitment on climate finance if Congress agrees to his “Build Back Better Plan” for spending $800 billion on climate and clean energy.

The Group needs to unlock trillion dollars of green cash as climate finance. G20 countries need to make a fresh commitment with a view to stopping providing funds for fresh coal projects, and also need to gradually reduce the huge amount of subsidies for fossil fuel. India, China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia lagged behind in delivering new nationally determined contributions (NDCs) targeting 2030. Similarly, other major economies such as Mexico, Brazil and Australia fell short of the commitment as expected.

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina will get special attention at the Summit given her commitment to addressing the climate vulnerabilities both at home as well as being the Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, developed to shift Bangladesh’s trajectory from vulnerability to resilience and prosperity, is likely to receive special attention. A major focus in her speech would be adaptation, particularly through reiterating the need for equity in climate funds in terms of allocation between adaptation and mitigation. The issue of loss and damage would also get emphasis given the fact that Bangladesh is disproportionately affected in climate vulnerabilities which are increasingly exposed through floods, cyclones and river erosion.

This year, many environment activists from different countries including Greta Thunberg has joined COP26. The young activists have been very vocal to raise climate issues but we still feel that the youth need a stronger forum. UN needs to create and empower a stronger youth forum for addressing climate issues. The global climate issues need to be addressed as a mid to long term goal and that requires the youth or the future generations to be a major participant.

If the young generation is not properly involved, then the future of this world cannot be secured. Hence, creating a forum with proper facilitation to engage the youth must be set as a priority for UN. The UN already has such youth forums to address different global issues but climate-specific youth forum is a must considering today’s world.

The top leaders of most of the country are senior citizens. As climate change issues require long term commitment and involvement, all the countries should appoint a Climate Change Ambassador. This ambassador should be a relatively young leader, who can carry on with his roles and responsibilities on his country’s behalf for at least 20 years. Moreover, the ambassador must be empowered to take major decisions including the financing ones. It is very critical as ignoring the climate change issues for any longer will bring serious havoc to the planet, we live in.

Climate change is not an issue for a single country. The emissions that one country makes creates serious natural disasters in another one. Hence, a comprehensive and combined effort is highly necessary. Global leaders have ignored the threats for too long and COVID-19, drought, wildfire, floods, cyclones, melting glaciers, sinkholes, earthquakes etc. are coming out as results. Rich countries have invested in nuclear weapons, arms and weapons, wars in the name of peace etc. rather than securing the future for long. We hope that they realize their mistakes and come forward with solid intent. Only then, we can expect our future generations to live in a better and safer world.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Chief Patron, Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela

Similar Posts