New goals not ambitious enough: UN report . . .
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), beginning Sunday in Glasgow, will set the record straight on global ambitions to mitigate climate change. All 192 parties to the Paris Agreement, the international treaty adopted in 2015 to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming, are expected to submit new nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that highlight their nation’s climate action plans. The recently released United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) annual emissions gap report reveals that already-announced updated NDCs fall well short of the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C degrees by the end of the century. The revised NDCs are expected to result in 2.7°C of warming. If countries also achieve current net-zero emissions pledges made, but which are not – yet – included in their NDCs, this could limit warming to 2.2°C.
COP26 success hinges on ambitions of China, India . . .
The conference's success, and ultimately the achievement of global climate goals, depends heavily on the policies and actions of China, India, and the U.S., the world’s three largest CO2 emitters. While India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed his COP26 attendance, doubt surrounding the in-person attendance of China’s leader Xi Jinping remains. Earlier this week, however, China reiterated its determination to tackle climate change by releasing a roadmap to achieving peak emissions before 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2060. In contrast, India refuses to set net-zero emission targets, stating this week that the focus should be on a pathway to reduce emissions rather than on net-zero pledges. Both India and China are expected to submit updated NDCs in the coming days.
The global divide . . .
Through the Paris Agreement, 23 developed countries, including Canada, agreed to contribute US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries achieve climate goals while ensuring their continued economic growth. Developed countries have not met this target and recently pushed back their goal for doing so to 2023. Developing countries, including India and China, have been vocal about the link between climate financing and climate negotiations. Climate financing is expected to be a key point of discussion at COP26, as are cooperative approaches and market mechanisms to reducing carbon emissions.
- Reuters: India rejects net-zero carbon emissions target, says pathway more important
- South China Morning Post: China issues plan for path to peak emissions and carbon neutral goal
- United Nations Environment Programme: Emissions Gap Report 2021