by Seth Bornstein and Anirudh Ghoshal
GLASGOW, Scotland – Big cracks remain as the UN climate talks last Friday’s deadline. A lot of the division comes down to money, which countries have it and which don’t. So it’s time to sneak inside the diplomatic cavalry.
Members of Democratic Congress also joined a two-week climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday to bolster the Biden administration’s efforts to step up climate action.
The conference begins with heads of government talking about how stopping global warming is a fight for survival. Leaders focused on the big picture, not the complex words important to the conversation. Then, for about a week, the technical conversation focused on those key details, doing some things but not really solving difficult situations.
Now, the time has come for “high-level” talks, when government ministers or other senior diplomats swoop in to make political decisions that break the technical impasse. The United Nations from Glasgow has three goals that are still out of reach: halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2030; Rich countries are giving $100 billion a year to poor countries to combat climate change; And ensuring that half of that money goes to adapting to the growing damages of climate change.
To compromise, they have a huge gap to bridge. Or more accurately, multiple intervals: there is a confidence difference and a money difference. north-south gap. It’s about money, history and the future.
On one side of the gap are countries that developed and prospered from the coal, oil and gas induced industrial revolution that began in Britain, on the other side are countries that have not yet developed and become rich and are now being told. It has been that these fuels are very dangerous for the planet.
The major financial issue is the $100 billion annual pledge first made in 2009. Developed nations still haven’t reached $100 billion a year. This year rich countries increased their aid to $80 billion a year, which is still less than promised.
As the head of the conference briefed countries on Monday about progress – and the lack thereof, in some ways – developing country after developing country reacted by how unfulfilled rich countries’ financial pledges were.
“Everyone here is upset,” said climate science and policy expert Salimul Haque, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.
Haq said that it is not that $100 billion alone will make a big difference because there are billions of dollars worldwide in payment, not pledge, $100 billion will be needed to tackle climate change. He argued that providing funds is important for bridging the trust gap between rich countries and poor countries.
“They went back on their promise. They failed to deliver it,” Haque said. “And it seems they don’t care. And, then why should we trust anything they say?”
While crowds at the convention on Monday cheered on former US President Barack Obama as he urged nations to do more and wealthier to help the poor, young Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate tweeted: “I’m 13 It was the year you promised $100B #ClimateFinance. America has broken that promise, it will lose its lives in Africa. The richest country on earth doesn’t contribute enough to lifesaving funds. You #COP26 to the youth Want to meet. We want action. Obama and @POTUS #ShowUsTheMoney.”
Nakate told the Associated Press that she was not criticizing Obama, who targeted young climate activists with her message, but was “telling the truth…. The money was promised but not delivered.” “
Haque said even richer, polluting countries have failed the rest of the world by not meeting emissions targets that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As things stand, it is the poor who pay for the destruction caused by climate change, he said. Studies have shown that poorer nations, such as Bangladesh, are more affected by climate change than richer countries, which also have more resources to adapt to extreme weather.
The UN’s annual climate talks have long been a matter of trust, said Niklas Höhne, a climate scientist at the New Climate Institute in Germany who has attended the conference for more than 20 years and pledges and works to translate it. Tracks how much they mean by projected warming to the curb.
Hohne said poor countries have good reasons to be careful, but nations are gathering at this conference to build that confidence. And trust can only be built by showing real action. “
While China is now the No. 1 carbon pollutant and India is the No. 3, carbon dioxide remains in the air for centuries. Based on historical emissions—the stuff still trapping heat in the atmosphere—the United States and European nations are most likely to be responsible for climate change, Hohne said.
Hohne said it is normal for high-level ministers to ride to the rescue in the second week of climate talks.
“There are some issues that go to ministers and those are the tricky parts and only ministers can solve them. And once they get them sorted out, they move on to the technical level again for implementation,” said Hone. “I think we have a normal amount of tricky bits right now.”
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought her anti-celebrity star power to the UN climate talks on Tuesday as part of a congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez told reporters that his main hope is to establish the United States as a world leader in reducing climate-damaging fossil fuel pollution.
Asked if he has a message for young activists who are instrumental in pressuring governments to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel pollution, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters inside the conference venue: “Okay , I would say, ‘Stay on the streets. Keep pushing.'”
Ellen Nickmeyer contributed to this report from Glasgow.
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