Only after a few days of the most anticipated Climate conference ever, the confidence for a joint Climate action has suffered a stroke.
While several countries have consented upon protecting forests and negating Deforestation, demotivating the use of fossil fuels like coal and driving economies towards green energy transition.
In the wake of this event, even India attempted, though reluctantly, to declare its own deadline to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, after the bigger carbon emitters have announced their respective goals previously.
COP 26 in total, saw 31 new updated pledges for respective NDCs.
But one has to acknowledge the huge gaps laying in between when it comes to the vision of different countries regarding what has been and could be achieved from this COP, post its first draft release.
The consensus seems to have dropped when it comes to certain key issues, specifically dealing with the religiously slashing the emissions of greenhouse gases, termed as biggest ‘mitigation’.
The sternest of oppositions to the Same has been recorded by Bolivia, China, India, Saudi Arabia and 18 other nations including Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, who have united on the front against some critical provisions given a green signal in the conference.
Currently, despite the bare minimum measures i.e., both conditional and unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) being achieved, the world is on the path to 2.4 degrees C global temperature rise and the world has begun to face severe impacts of Global warming.
Considering the current National policies alone, we may even reach around 2.6C to 2.7C warming by 2100. As these policies may be codified in law yet they compose long term actions and not binding commitments.
These are even susceptible to the whims of fickle-minded leaders.
These countries have offered disagreement on the cognizance that the world should strive to limit the global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius and for this reduce their emissions.
As per Bolivia’s chief negotiator Diego Pacheco, all of the above cannot fulfil and even agree to one grave clause: ambitions on curbing emissions by the end of 2022.
Scientists have claimed this as the supreme path to avert a bigger tragedy.
They argue why the targets cannot be same and equidistant for both developing and developed countries.
COP 26 against Climate Justice?
Points of defense being the bigger roles of these rich nations in the history of making Climate crisis, the freedom of time they enjoyed for exploitation of world resources and their dedicated development.
He said: “History matters and history is very important to understand and to put in the context in the discussion on ambition”.
This ‘force’ of achieving Net zero targets have even been termed “new carbon colonialism”.
The countries have accused the developed nations of “transferring the responsibility” of Climate action to Global South, which most of these transitioning countries cannot achieve by even mid-century.
He described in press conference: “If we are going to accept net zero by 2050 for all countries, then the developing countries would be trapped in a very unjust way of addressing climate change.”
“That is because only the developed countries will have the financial capabilities and technological capacities to achieve that target.”
“As developing countries, we will be trapped in that narrative because we will never be able to achieve the targets that they are putting for the entire world. And those countries that would not able to achieve the net zero targets would be ethically and financially condemned. That is unfair and against climate justice”.
“So, we need to fight the developed world against this carbon colonialism. It is very risky for our countries and completely ignores that there are historical responsibilities of the developed nations”, concluding the countries’ stand.
Why is controlling these emissions really that necessary?
We already know how the emissions can cause warming, and with increased warming and consequent Climate change, there will likely be several uncertainties.
Even the recent IPCC report has claimed how the vast oceans may began to behave abnormally, or how the forests may turn as source of carbon emissions.
Similarly, the planet, based on how the climate system tends to respond to continued emissions, may increase or decrease to reach the temperatures ranging between 2C to 3.6C by 2100.
These uncertainties are calls enough for caution and increase the urgency for stringent reduction of emissions.
Taking the precautionary approach, considering the bleak yet possible, two-in-three chance that warming will remain somewhere below 2.7C if countries meet their unconditional NDCs.
It is still significantly possible that the world could just end up at 2.7C (or more) of temperature rise, creating a threat for extinction of even human race despite the best of attempts to survive.
Belittling the Climate Action: Criticism in Abundance
While many may support this stand of claimed justice by Developing Nations, the prominent yet West-based climate Activists have termed it as a negotiation tactic and to do more with demanding funds.
The Bolivian Negotiator mentioned: “If the 1.5 degrees C target is to be achieved, the actions have to be enhanced in the contexts of finance, technology transfer and capacity building as well, not just on mitigation”.
“That is why we, the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), have asked the presidency to remove the entire section on mitigation in the draft text”.
The non-profit organization Destination Zero has called this announcement an absolute play while others called it “a punch in the face of people suffering from the climate crisis”.
The European Commission’s vice president Frans Timmermans has even branded it as illogical, saying: “There’s no amount of money on the planet” that could develop adaptation to withstand the extreme temperature rise that would come if mitigation were scrapped.”
“Loss and damage is a key part of our conversation. It’s time to move and find the solutions that will help vulnerable countries respond to the damage and destruction the climate crisis has already caused.”
“We can find a way out of this, I’m sure, together in a cooperative atmosphere.“
No Funding? Why these LMDCs are still dissatisfied?
While more developing countries face the brunt of Climate change than their wealthier counterparts, the funding of $100 billion a year promised to developing nations ten years earlier, has not flowed in.
Just like slashing the emissions, this was considered crucial for developing Nations to transform to low-carbon economies or simply adapt to the climate crisis.
This allied group claims how ‘Far more money has flowed to measures just focused on cutting emissions.’
Therefore, the squeaky developing countries demand a mechanism offering “loss and damage”, which will require the wealthy nations to be held liable for the impacts caused during this climate crisis. And therefore, comes in, the concept of climate reparations.
Climate Reparations involve funding the developing crisis-ridden countries for losing their lives, refuge and livelihoods to climate change. And so, it has become the most politically contentious issue in the climate talks.
Countries of all sorts: in Favor, against and the ones helping!
Though the United Nations has not out rightly denied it and is looking to setup some mechanism for the same but United States and European Union have disregarded it.
Smaller country like Scotland has made an initiative Scotland. It has committed a small yet significant, at least symbolically £2 million Scottish pounds ($2.7 million) that says it is important to help each other fight a bigger evil and yes, it is very possible.
Praised by many: “The true leader that has emerged here at COP26 is not a party to the convention. She is our host, she is the First Minister of Scotland”.
“Just before the COP started she put a million pounds of Scottish money on the table for a new fund on loss and damage and challenged all the other leaders to match it. Yesterday, she doubled the amount.”
“So she is the true leader who is putting money on the table for loss and damage. The US is giving us zero dollars. Europe is giving us zero euros. But Scotland has given us two million.”
While many have targeted US on its callosity by saying: “Has the US kept it’s $100 billion promise? NOPE!”
While many countries have preferred to take sides in this crucial time, many individual leaders are trying best to sort this out.
A European lawmaker has suggested: “The developing countries are coming here with a couple of demands, and climate finance and loss and damage are the most important.”
“If the US is going to say no to everything, that will be a problem.”
“You can’t say no to everything. And if you want a review mechanism on accelerating mitigation, then of course, the question will be ‘OK, but is finance developing’?”
“And if you then don’t deliver on loss and damage, and you haven’t delivered your $100 billion, well what are we getting in return?”