Monday, November 29, 2021

Blockade at UN climate conference In the end, tears of disappointment flow

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After a long hang-out, the states agreed on a final declaration at the climate conference in Glasgow. The wording to move away from coal was significantly weakened at the last minute.

The UN climate conference in Glasgow called for the first time to the countries of the world to initiate the phase-out of coal. The declaration approved by around 200 states on Saturday also calls for the removal of “inefficient” subsidies for oil, gas and coal. However, the wording was weakened at the last minute under pressure from China and India.

In the last version before the plenary resolutions, the states were called upon to “accelerate their efforts in the direction of an exit” from the use of coal and to stop “inefficient subsidies” for fossil fuels. In the end, however, it was decided that the states should “gradually reduce” the use of coal-fired power plants without CO2 capture.

In addition, the countries resolved to work together to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. To this end, they should sharpen their previously inadequate climate protection plans by the end of 2022. But this remains voluntary, there is no obligation.

The world climate conference COP26 came to an emotional end in any case: When several states bitterly complained about watering down at the last minute shortly before the final vote, the British COP26 President Alok Sharma fought back tears. “I beg your pardon for the way that went. And I’m very sorry,” said the host. He added: “It is also of fundamental importance that we protect this package.” Then his voice failed and he looked down. The delegates helped him over the emotional moment with long applause.

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans also expressed his great disappointment about this, but nevertheless praised the demand to phase out coal as “historic”.

So far, the plans submitted to the UN are nowhere near enough to achieve the 1.5 degree target agreed in Paris in 2015. The declaration states that for this to happen, global emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases will have to fall by 45 percent this decade.

John Kerry, US President's Special Envoy for Climate: At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the international community belatedly approved a final declaration.  (Source: dpa)John Kerry, US President’s Special Envoy for Climate: At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the international community belatedly approved a final declaration. (Source: dpa)

More financial aid is also promised for poor countries so that they can adapt to the fatal consequences of the climate crisis in many places. Tens of millions of people are already faced with more frequent and prolonged droughts and heat waves or are struggling with more violent storms and floods. Specifically, this financial aid is to be doubled by 2025, i.e. from currently around 20 to around 40 billion US dollars (around 35 billion euros.)

For the first time, the longstanding call of poor countries to set up a money pot for aid in the event of damage and loss is taken up. This refers to destruction or forced resettlement after droughts, storm surges or hurricanes. The states are asked to pay in money for it. However, no concrete sums are given for this. Only “technical support” should be available after damaging events, but not the complete damage should be paid.

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