CoP-26: We must shift gear from climate intention to actual action

Synopsis: There is an urgent need to address climate change which continues to mount. The future of each one depends on the actions of all.

Introduction

Recent catastrophic flooding in Asia and Western Europe, record-shattering temperatures in North America, and raging wildfires in southern Europe remind us that no country is safe.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is now putting the finishing touches on its next major climate-change report, to be issued prior to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (CoP-26) in Glasgow.

Each successive IPCC report has been starker than the last, and there is no reason to think the next one will break this pattern.

What is the current scenario?

Rising temperature: In May, the World Meteorological Organization warned that there is a 40% chance that the annual average global temperature will exceed 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, at least temporarily. This could trigger potentially disastrous tipping points.

World is not on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal: last February’s preliminary issue of the synthesis report of all nationally determined contributions (NDCs) showed that we are headed toward a rise of 3°C, or even more, by 2100.

What are some important issues that must be resolved at CoP-26?

Past promises must be kept: Demonstrating that commitments made up to 2020 have been fulfilled is essential to build trust among countries. For example, the goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 to aid developing economies in the green transition and offering support in the form of capacity-building and technology transfer.

Responsibility of Developed countries: They must show a level of commitment to drive the transition toward a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.

Resolution of disagreements: Outstanding disagreements on finance, transparency, adaptation and resilience, loss and damage, and technical support and guidance for developing countries must be resolved.

Ambitions must be raised: Countries must commit to do much more in all three key areas of the climate agenda: mitigation, adaptation, and finance. The next NDC synthesis report, to be delivered before CoP-26, will give a more complete picture of progress so far, as it will include more major emitters.

What is the way forward?

First, balanced representation of all regions and groups is essential to a successful CoP-26, with observers and other non-Party stakeholders, including the nine NGO constituencies, engaging positively in the process.

Second, initiatives such as the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action and the Race to Zero campaign should make meaningful contributions to climate action and promote climate ambition globally.

Third, world needs only a balanced package of decisions and actions reflecting the expectations, concerns and needs of all stakeholders. It is up to our governments to lead, our businesses to innovate and our societies to come together in service of a common cause.

Source: This post is based on the article “CoP-26: We must shift gear from climate intention to actual action” published in Livemint on 14th October 2021.

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