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As time goes on, hopes for an agreement on climate change are fading.

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(Bloomberg) — When India was unable to attend the Climate Change Conference in London last week, the UK organizer of the conference considered it a snub. It also clearly reminded us of how difficult it is for diplomats to bring the world’s climate back from the brink of disaster. It took less than three months to negotiate the next high stakes.

The climate conference in London was not just a recent example of the underlying problem. Just two days ago, an overnight meeting of a group of 20 ministers in Naples, Italy, failed to reach an agreement to phase out coal-fired power, the most polluted source of energy. India, the world’s third-largest emitter of coal, was an important supporter.

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When asked why they didn’t attend, Indian officials said they had technical problems that meant they were needed at home and they couldn’t log in online. But they also said they had already clarified their views in Naples.

Getting India’s support will be key to the success of the UN-sponsored COP26 Climate Change Conference scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland. Alok Sharma, President of COP26 and Minister of Government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, set an ambitious goal at the summit to “consign the history of coal.” It will continue to take advantage of the hope of limiting global warming from pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, temperatures have already risen 1.2 degrees Celsius, affecting extreme weather events that hit the world from Canada to China.

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According to the non-profit Climate Action Tracker, current promises put the world on track for a warming of 2.4 ºC by 2100. According to the United Nations’ special report on global warming in 2018, even a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius will have a tremendous impact on the earth, including hundreds to thousands of years of “sea level rise” and mass extinction of flora and fauna. That is.

So to stop the planet’s warming, coal’s share of electricity generation needs to be reduced to less than 2% by 2050, but the G20 cannot agree on how to do that. The previous Group of Seven leaders’ meeting disagreed with the need to phase out domestic coal use and only promised to suspend lending abroad. These are a group of relatively small countries. COP26 diplomats represent almost every country in the world, making it even more difficult to drive consensus.

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“Unless all countries sign up for the phasing out of coal, it will be very difficult to keep 1.5 ° C within reach,” Sharma said after the London Conference.

Much of the work to make COP26 successful must be done before the summit begins. This is because there are two important deadlines. Countries need to submit a more ambitious climate program known as “Country-Determined Contributions”, with developed countries fulfilling their pledge to spend a total of $ 100 billion annually to support the adaptation of poor countries. It has become. Even after extending the deadline by one year to account for the pandemic, climate spending targets have not yet been met and some major countries have not set up climate programs.

The fracture of the debate goes far beyond the Modi administration. Although 197 countries have signed the 2015 Paris International Climate Agreement, there is still a deep division between how to reach that goal and who bears the brunt of responsibility. “The outlook for COP26 is not very promising,” said Lee Shuo, a climate analyst at Greenpeace Asia. “Many important issues need to be addressed before the conference begins, such as climate funding and coal use.”

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Climate finance issues are another source of tension in events leading up to the COP, such as the US-sponsored International Climate Summit in April. The poorest countries in the world have the least contribution to global climate change, but are the most vulnerable to their impact and cannot afford the high adaptation costs. Based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” the wealthiest countries in the world have agreed to pay a total of $ 100 billion annually for assistance in connection with the Paris Agreement, but consistently. I haven’t achieved that goal.

As the summit approaches, the debate focuses on emerging economies and a few countries in the middle of their size, claiming that they have the same industrial rights that their peers have enjoyed over the last two centuries. doing. That means burning fossil fuels. Like India, China, the world’s largest emitter, is under pressure to announce plans to significantly reduce emissions over the next decade. Neither country has submitted an updated NDC yet.

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According to the World Resources Institute, G20 countries that have not submitted more ambitious NDCs account for 47% of world emissions. The list also includes Saudi Arabia and Australia. But in Naples, they promised to do so by COP26.

Even if China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia announce a tough new 2030 plan this year, they will not be able to bridge the gap between where emissions are and where they should be, Alden Meyer, senior associate of climate advocacy group E3G. Stated. Therefore, the Glasgow Agreement needs to include a new obligation for countries to continuously revise and strengthen the NDC, as opposed to the five-year cycle set out in the Paris Agreement, he said.

“Some of these discussions have been frozen in this zero-sum pointing dynamics, as they did in the 1990s,” Meyer said. “In reality, we are all on a lifeboat together and the lifeboat is in danger of sinking. Politics has not yet shifted to reflect that reality.”

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Meanwhile, according to the International Energy Agency, China’s coal consumption is ready to break records this year. Mr Shuo said China needs to announce plans to limit the use of coal domestically or abroad. The next opportunity to Xi Jinping Jintao of China to announce a new target on the world stage, it is likely to be in September the United Nations General Assembly. If they do not announce it at COP26, the 1.5ºC target can be unattainable.

Upon arriving in Glasgow, all eyes are on the United States to increase its share of funding for developing countries. The country has fallen far behind its pledge, partly because former President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. The $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, which struggles to pass Congress, includes only $ 600 billion in new spending. Meyer worried that the bill might not be on President Joe Biden’s desk to approve it in time for COP26. In that case, the United States will not be able to fulfill its promise again.

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This is a problem because many developing countries, such as Bangladesh and Vietnam, say they cannot set more ambitious goals until rich countries provide the promised funding. Having failed to reach the $ 100 billion target for 2020, developed countries are now planning to achieve the average agreed funding from 2002 to 2024 and show how they can catch up. Sharma has appointed ministers of Canada and Germany to meet this month’s demands from these vulnerable countries and develop a delivery plan for them.

Many of the issues discussed at the November Summit have not been touched upon since the last COP in 2019. This includes the completion of the Paris Rulebook on carbon trading under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. The 2019 talks failed to reach an agreement on that important issue, as the European Union and Brazil could not agree on accounting rules for the transaction of emission permits.

Sharma and other UK organizers want a compromise agreement that could at least allow something to come out of this year’s conference. But some climate change activists warn that too many concessions are worse than no transactions at all, said Eddie Perez, international climate diplomacy manager at the Canadian Climate Action Network.

“Too many compromises run the risk of leading to Article 6 proposals that could impact the conservation of the Paris Agreement,” he said.

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    As time goes on, hopes for an agreement on climate change are fading.

    https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/with-time-ticking-down-hope-is-waning-for-a-climate-deal As time goes on, hopes for an agreement on climate change are fading.

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