COP misses the target, but progress welcomed
A new global agreement – known as the Glasgow Climate Pact – has been struck, but it’s not the far-reaching, ambitious deal many hoped for. After 2 weeks of talks, it’s forecasted that pledges made during the summit would limit global warming to 2.4C. That’s a long way off 1.5C – the target that nations have previously agreed on as the global warming goal. COP26 President Alok Sharma became emotional yesterday as he apologised to delegates, saying compromises were vital to ensure that progress could be made. “I think today we can say with credibility that we’ve kept 1.5C within reach. But its pulse is weak, and we will only survive if we keep our promises,” he said.
GIVE ME THE NOTABLE POINTS…
At a glance:
• It’s the first-ever climate deal to expressly agree to reduce the use of coal. Note: coal is responsible for about 40% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, so it’s a big-ticket item…
• But – and it’s a big but – the pact calls for a “phase down” rather than a “phase out” of coal. That happened when China and India intervened moments before the summit closed saying nations like theirs “have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication”.
• And another thumbs down: developing countries’ demand for funding to compensate them for climate-related losses also fell short. They met stiff resistance from the US and the European Union.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
World leaders will be back at the negotiating table toot sweet with nations requested (but not required) to bring their emissions targets in line with the goal of 1.5C warming at COP27 in Egypt next year. That puts pressure on the Australian Government to bring forward a more ambitious 2030 target – something PM Scott Morrison didn’t do in Glasgow. And it puts more action on climate change on the agenda for the Coalition, Labor, the minor parties and independents ahead of a federal election, which is due by the end of May next year. Liberal MPs facing challenges from climate candidates are already looking an update the 2030 emissions reduction target – something Team Morrison says it will not do.
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