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Agree to Disagree

The Glasgow Climate Pact, a remarkable irony if ever there was one, underlines certain major steps that the world cannot afford to avoid. One significant achievement is that the Paris Agreement Rulebook ~ the operational guidelines of the agreement ~ was adopted in Glasgow.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Now that the Conference of Parties (COP26) has concluded in Glasgow, it is fairly obvious that the participating countries have once again agreed to disagree, as they did in Cancun, Copenhagen and Paris.

The objective of achieving 1.5 degree Celsius as a limit to global warming remains ever so elusive. Many countries, notably small emitters, have stepped up their climate ambitions, even while pledging commitments to bold, and even sweeping actions to address the almost intractable issue of global emissions.

The scenario that has emanated from Glasgow is decidedly imperfect for a world that has been grappling with the problem for as long as it has. The comity of nations is still undecided on the limits that it has to observe to stem the impacts of climate change.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, a remarkable irony if ever there was one, underlines certain major steps that the world cannot afford to avoid. One significant achievement is that the Paris Agreement Rulebook ~ the operational guidelines of the agreement ~ was adopted in Glasgow. There was progress on what they call “adaptation finance” ~ intrinsically the global goal on adaptation ~ gender, and the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Platform.

However, the agreement fell short on bold and necessary actions, such as calling for an end to fossil fuels and putting a price on carbon. These are the two primary issues on which successive climate change conferences have hit the reefs.

And so it did in the Scottish city. In retrospect, the Paris agreement was a true reflection of science. In the run up to the Glasgow conference, three-quarters of the world’s nations submitted their revised national climate strategies as agreed under the Paris Agreement. But these pledges ~ Nationally Determined Contributions NDCs) ~ require significant support to turn them into reality.

It was pretty obvious in Glasgow that developing countries need to be assured that their ambitions will be met with the financial and technical support that are required. Notably, this will require ensuring that the $100 billion commitment “is a floor and not a ceiling”.

Support for adapting to the impacts of climate change is critical in the overall construct. It is crucial to meet the increasing demands of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities that are grappling with the climate crisis. It is imperative to ensure that the road to COP27 is now paved. With 1.5 degrees remaining barely within reach, COP26 must be a springboard for further commitments from countries in the immediate future.

After Glasgow, no longer can anyone be under any illusion. Hope remains, yet our window to protect people and planet is closing by the day. The endeavour must of necessity be collective. So too must be the response when the leaders gather at the high table.