This Wednesday (3) saw good news for those who believe that humanity will be able to reverse the climate situation in which it finds itself: a study from the University of Melbourne, Australia suggests that if during COP26 Already all commitments are made, to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, that the world will manage to limit the global rise in temperature to less than 2 °C, a value that is considered the threshold for preventing major disasters by the end of the century. goes.
The change came with plans presented by India, which is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after China and the US). The proposal includes a massive expansion of its clean energy base, primarily solar. Announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the new Indian goals include achieving half of its energy from renewable sources and carbon neutrality (i.e., a precise balance between emissions and sinks) by 2070.
These new numbers, already presented by the rest of the world, would push temperatures to 1.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It is the first time that the world has been able to prevent a climate disaster rising above 2 °C by itself under the terms of the Paris Agreement. But that doesn’t mean we’re safe, of course. It is more important to implement goals than to propose them. And it is worth remembering that these agreements do not provide for penalties for those who do not fulfill the promised promise. It is basically an international exercise in conscience and goodwill.
And COP26 aims for more, according to its president Alok Sharma. According to him, the aim now is to seek even greater commitments from participating countries, so that the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 °C is within reach. They suggest that while long-term carbon neutrality targets have evolved significantly, more ambition is needed in the short term, with significant reductions in emissions by 2030.
It will not be easy. There is a good chance for the world not to exceed the 1.5°C threshold, which would require reducing global emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, said study author Malte Meinshausen, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne. Scientist and member’s suggestion. IPCC, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
cut fossil fuels
Starting next year, more than 20 countries and financial institutions will have to stop any and all new funding for fossil fuel projects abroad and redirect these resources to clean energy. The richest countries controlling the deal are the United States and the United Kingdom.
The agreement being drafted at COP26 includes Denmark and some developing countries, such as Costa Rica, as well as institutions such as the European Investment Bank. The initiative predicts that resources that were previously committed to fossil fuels will flow into clean energy initiatives, totaling about US$8 billion a year. This is good news, but full of drawbacks.
China and Japan, the two major global investors in fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas), have been out for some time, a good example of how much putting together effective multilateral agreements to control the climate crisis. Its difficult.
And the negotiated terms do not, for example, prohibit the development of national fossil fuel projects by the signatories, nor do they impede ongoing actions by the United Kingdom, such as the financing of a gas field in Mozambique.
During COP26, Osvaldo dos Santos Lucón, executive coordinator of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, decided to resign. He informed the group about the resignation request that until then was coordinated via a messaging application on Tuesday (2).
In an interview with the Folha de S Paulo newspaper, Lucón justified his departure: “My intention to take over the forum was to put the federal government in touch with civil society, promote and reinforce dialogue in a transparent manner based on science.” Had to do it. Our institutions. It didn’t happen. So I think someone else can eventually do this job better than me.”
The researcher did not dwell on the difficulties he faced, but his passing echoes the enormous difficulty that the Brazilian government has in getting its words and actions done in one place, in the environmental sector. During COP26, the country has already committed to cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030, in addition to reducing deforestation to zero on the same date.
Lucon lives in Glasgow, as he attends climate summits as a United Nations observer and member of the IPCC.