After the agreement reached by nearly 200 countries on Saturday in Glasgow, the world must move very quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move away from “catastrophic” warming of the planet, scientists and politicians have warned.
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At the end of two weeks of day and night negotiations to the last second, almost all countries of the world agreed on a compromise to speed up the fight against rising temperatures.
But while every additional tenth of a degree has dire consequences, the decisions of the Glasgow Charter will not lead to a warming limited to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial times, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement, which in 2015 laid the foundations for action climatic.
“The climate catastrophe is still knocking at the door,” UN President Antonio Guterres warned. “We have kept +1.5 degrees Celsius within reach (…), but the pulse is weak,” said British COP26 chief Alok Sharma.
“Global emissions must fall, immediately, quickly, and with absolute urgency,” while continuing to increase, implored Joyere Rugele, of Imperial College London, believing that “science was not present in COP decisions.”
Shutting down coal-fired power stations
However, Glasgow, the cradle of the coal-fueled industrial revolution, will still be the city that saw for the first time at the highest level, after 26 conferences, the words “fossil fuels” and “coal”, which identify the main causes of global warming will be used – lying on paper.
“It’s too late, but it’s really welcome,” commented Chris Littlecott, energy transmission specialist at E3G Research Center. “The year 2021 saw the coal-finance tap shut down, and the COP 26 opened a new chapter, accelerating the retirement of existing coal-fired power plants.”
Finally, to name coal and oil was a pain, India and China succeeded at the last minute, in the same room where the last hammer blow was due, to further dilute the wording in “reduction” rather than “out” of coal, prompting Alok Sharma , crying, to apologize to the world.
Sharma told the BBC on Sunday that China and India should “interpret themselves” about the decision.
The shift in China came after it announced on Wednesday a surprise agreement with the United States, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after it. President Joe Biden, who attacked his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the start of the COP for his absence in Glasgow, should hold a video conference with him on Monday.
“Beijing must in the near future fulfill the promises of the Glasgow Climate Charter by setting a date for the expiration of coal on its territory,” said Byford Tsang, E3G.
“How countries will establish new collaborations to achieve faster action over the next 12 months will be the true test of success in Glasgow,” summarizes E3G, recalling COP26’s other promises on reducing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, on deforestation and financing Fossil fuels.
“I encourage political and economic leaders to act immediately and foresight,” Pope Francis said after the Angels’ Prayer, referring to COP26.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (Union of Concerned Scientists) warns “if countries, especially large emitting countries, stick to their policies of small steps and +business as usual+, they will condemn the world’s present and future generations to untold suffering and harm”.
The poorest countries, least responsible for global warming, are already suffering, but are on the front lines in the face of its effects and have fought in Glasgow for specific funding for their “losses and damages”.
They reluctantly gave in and agreed to continue the dialogue so as not to lose progress in the fight against global warming.
“We have always known that Glasgow was not the finish line,” US envoy John Kerry said Saturday night.
Twelve separate months between Scotland and Egypt, when the Twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Agreement (COP) will take place.
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