Agenda for CoP26

Source: This post is based on the article “Agenda for CoP26” published in “Down To Earth on 13th October 2021. 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. 

Relevance: Understanding ongoing climate crisis and steps taken to address this menace. 

Synopsis: A potential agenda for the upcoming CoP26 meeting at Glasgow.

Introduction 

The 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is going to happen in Glasgow (UK). At the meeting some of the old issues of previous CoP’s would be discussed. 

This meeting comes after strong warning from the United Nation’s top scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that weather disasters will get worse, much worse. 

What should be the agenda at the “CoP26”? 

Climate justice- The principle of “equity” in climate negotiations was agreed upon through the mechanism of “common but differentiated responsibility” at Rio conference in 1992. This principle of climate justice has been neglected over the last 30years. 

The rich seven and China — have appropriated the most of carbon budget. Their accumulated emissions is the reason the world is hurtling towards disaster. 

The remaining world — roughly 70 per cent of it — still needs the right to development. This implies that the already rich countries should reduce, create space for the emerging world to grow. 

Forcing developing countries towards a low carbon pathway would be an injustice. 

Net zero emissions- IPCC says the world must be net zero by 2050 and halve the emissions by 2030 over its 2010 levels to stay below 1.5°C. 

If the world has to be net zero by 2050, then the differential must apply, and the rich (7+1) must be net zero by 2030 at the very latest. We need clear plans for 2030 from all, particularly from the emitters of the past and the present. 

Spotlight on China- In this coming decade, China will occupy 30% of the available carbon budget; it has no absolute emissions reduction target. This means there is no space left for the rest of the world to grow. This is unacceptable 

Finance- For long this promise has remained inadequately fulfilled. It has led to the breakdown in trust between countries. 

This agenda is linked to “market-based mechanism”, discussed at CoP26.The market mechanism must formulate a way to fund transformational and expensive options in the developing world. 

Currently efforts are being directed at finding creative ways to “buy” cheap emission reductions from the developing world. This is a flawed approach. The real objective should be to reduce emissions, not offset them and transition to a clean energy economy. 

Loss and damage- With each repeated disaster, people lose their ability to cope. This adds to their insecurity and to the insecurity of the world. An effective agreement to underwrite the losses and damages and giving effect to “polluters pay” is the need of hour. 

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