Today, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference begins. However, the leader of Russia – Vladimir Putin – and the leader of China – Xi Jinping – do not attend. I summarized the results of the G20 summit before moving on to the Climate Change Conference. The first being not very conclusive about the climate.
The G20 Summit
For the first time in two years, the G20 leaders met in person to discuss a range of topics – from climate change to taxes to Covid vaccines. Here are the results:
– Commitment to 1.5°C goal, the key objective of the Paris Agreement. No clear date was set in 2050, instead pledged „by or around mid-century“ for zero carbon emissions
– Stop the funding of dirty coal plants abroad by the end of 2021
– Mobilization of $100 billion for developing countries for climate adaptations costs
– Carbon pricing mechanisms and incentives as a possible tool considered
– The global minimum tax of 15% to combat tax evasion is backed by 136 countries which represent 90% of the world GDP. It is meant to come into effect in 2023, deadline apparently is „at risk of slipping“
– National legislation must be passed in each country, Biden facing domestic opposition
– Support of WHO goal to vaccinate at least 40% of the worlds population by 2021 and 70% by the middle of next year (that would be June 2022)
– Cooperation to recognize Covid-19 vaccines which are deemed safe and efficacious by the WHO (Putin complained about the lack of international approval of Sputnik V)
„49.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
7.07 billion doses have been administered globally, and 26.65 million are now administered each day. Only 3.6% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.“ (OWD)
– Continuation of Covid-related economic stimulus measures
– Inflation said to be closely monitored by central banks and remain committed to clear communication of policy stances
– A pledge by G20-leaders to remain ‚vigilant‘ in regard to the challenges faced by the global economy (e.g. supply chains)
– $100 billion for the poorest nations which come from the $650 billion pot from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed by its Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
– SDR is not a currency; it can be used as a reserve currency to stabilise value of domestic currency or converted into stronger currencies to finance investments
– Also exists to obtain ‚hard currency‘ without substantial interest rates
COP26 – The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 26th Climate Change Conference begins on 1st November and ends on the 12th November. It is co-hosted by Italy and more than 30,000 people are expected to attend.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will play a key role, since the UK is hosting the event.
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin won’t attend.
The attendees of COP26 are depicted in this Infographic:
The Different Scenarios
Depending on what is not only agreed upon but also achieved, one of the five scenarios could play out. As it is explained by CBS as well: „Before the Paris Agreement, the global economy was on track to, by the year 2100, warm the planet at least 3.7 degrees Celsius above 1900’s pre-industrial levels. Today, existing policies will lead to a 2.9-degree increase and announced targets would lessen the increase to 2.4 degrees — still hotter than the Paris Agreement’s objective of less than 2 degrees warmer.“
What an increase to 2.4 degrees means is shown by the following graphs, also from the 6th IPCC Report:
Increased heat waves with stronger intensity, floodings, droughts, ocean acidification, melting of the polar ice caps – these are some of the consequences of climate change, and the less is done the more severe it gets. Then there’s the damage due to adverse weather conditions which only increase the costs for all economic players. Investments to protect the environment and mitigate global warming therefore not only prevent the economy, but also human loss due to extreme weather events. Furthermore, the destabilization of ecosystems is going to hurt us in the long-run as well (e.g. fishing).
In this global climate system, each country contributes either more or less to the rising carbon emissions. While the overall picture matters and the big players must be held accountable, it is also important that individual countries – given they have the resources both monetarily and production-wise – set their own goals and serve as a role model.
For instance: a country like Germany has the means to implement such large changes.
Unfortunately, as the years have shown, the governments under Angela Merkel only achieved little. And while it is true that one nation alone cannot change this climate crisis, it can still reduce its own emissions and serve as a role model for other nations.
When the political will lacks, pressure must be applied from outside (as Fridays for Future has already done, for example) and all democratic means explored to remain on course.
However, in the end it is only the government that can implement large-scale changes and it must therefore be held accountable, put under pressure and existing progress monitored.
On the 12th November we are going to see the results of the 26th Climate Change Conference. I finish this entry by presenting the Top 10 Co2-contributors (67.44%):
I’m not optimistic about COP26, given the lack of political will in the past decades.
We definitely have the potential to turn it around, don’t get me wrong – we only need to unlock it.