Countries at greatest risk call for faster climate action at COP26


Several countries vulnerable to climate change want the review of measures to combat the phenomenon to take place annually, rather than every five years, as they are done today. This initiative, however, is seen as difficult to be achieved in the negotiations of COP26, a conference on climate change that takes place in Glasgow until 12 November.

“Let’s not have any illusions: if the commitments are not up to the end of this COP, the countries will have to review their plans and policies. Not every five years. Every year”, defended this week the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

“Until we guarantee warming of 1.5°C. Until fossil fuel subsidies are abolished (…) Until we abandon coal,” he added.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming by up to 2°C, but ideally at 1.5°C, provides that the 200 or so signatory states hand over their NDCs (an acronym for nationally determined contributions every five years) ), which should gradually increase.

The agreement provides that the parties may “at any time modify” their national contributions to increase their respective ambitions, but the treaty does not provide for any other timetable beyond five-year cycles.

According to the latest UN assessment, current commitments lead to a “catastrophic” rise of 2.7°C in the planet’s temperature, or at best 2.2°C.

Scientists insist that current emissions must be cut by nearly half (45%) by 2030 if we are to remain at an increase below 1.5°C.

At the beginning of COP26, new NDCs were announced, such as those in Brazil, China, India and Argentina. Predictions of temperature rise may therefore vary, but analyzes of the effects of new NDCs are not yet available.

For countries directly affected by the climate crisis, such as small island states, the bills don’t add up. The concern also exists because emissions resumed their upward trajectory in 2021, after the hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement released this week, the countries of the so-called Vulnerable Climate Forum (CVF) highlighted that they need to guarantee their “survival”.

The 55 countries, which represent nearly 2 billion people living in Africa, Asia, the Pacific or the Caribbean, are calling for a mandatory increase in the goals at each COP (the conference takes place every year) by 2025 — the year expected for the beginning of the next cycle of NDCs.

“There is no time, the governments of the world, and in particular the largest emitters, have no alternative but to work from one year to the next” to guarantee the “security” of populations, the text insists.

“We hope that this COP lives up to our expectations, as a moral compass for the international community,” explained Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, who chairs the forum.

Observers, however, are skeptical about the success of this process.

“I believe that China, India and Russia will reject anything that is not an invitation to countries,” a diplomatic source told AFP, who also doubts that the European Union is ready for an annual review, taking into account the complexity of its internal processes. .

“The key question is when” to propose this, insists David Waskow of the World Resources Institute. The date of 2023, when a “global balance” of the Paris Agreement must be made, would be the most appropriate, according to some observers.

However, “all this must come from a consensus,” warned COP26 President Alok Sharma.


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