Monday, January 30, 2023

Short time, but ‘mountains to climb’ in UN climate talks

by Seth Bornstein, Anirudh Ghoshal and Frank Jordan

GLASSGOW, Scotland (AP) — The United Nations climate summit in Glasgow has taken “some serious steps” toward cutting emissions, but far from the giant leap needed to limit global warming to internationally accepted targets, two new analysis and top officials said on Tuesday.

And in two weeks of talks, time is running out.

Climate Dialogue Chairman, Alok Sharma told high-level government ministers at the UN conference to reach out to their capitals and bosses soon to see if they can get more ambitious pledges because “we have only a few There are only days left.”

This month’s summit has seen so little progress that a United Nations Environment Program analysis of the new pledges found they were not enough to improve future warming scenarios. According to the review released Tuesday, they had only trimmed the “emissions gap” — how much carbon pollution can be dispersed without affecting dangerous warming levels — to a few tenths of a percentage point.

The analysis found that by 2030, the world will emit 51.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is 1.5 billion tons less than the latest pledges. The world could emit only 12.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2030, achieving the threshold first set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which came out of a similar summit.

A separate analysis by independent scientists found a slight reduction in future warming, but still insufficient to limit the planet’s warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) by the end of the century. The planet has already warmed by 1.1 degrees (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

“There are some serious baby steps,” Inger Andersen, director of the United Nations Environment Program, said in an interview with The Associated Press minutes after the United Nations analysis ended. “But those are not the leaps we need to see by any stretch of the imagination.”

In Glasgow, officers averted advances, but not necessarily success.

“We are making progress,” said Sharma, “but we still have a mountain to climb in the next few days, and one that is collectively committed, but certainly not all the way, to reach 1.5. To keep within.”

Anderson acknowledged that none of the UN’s three main criteria for the success of the two-week climate talks have so far been achieved. They are cutting greenhouse gas emissions in almost half by 2030; receive $100 billion in aid annually from rich countries to poor countries; And half of that money must be spent for developing countries to adapt to the worst damages of global warming.

A second analysis by the Climate Action Tracker, which has monitored nations’ emissions-cutting promises for years, said the world is now expected to warm 2.4 °C (4.3 °F) by the end of pre-industrial times, based on those submitted targets. is on its way. of this century. This is a far cry from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement extreme limit of 1.5 °C (2.7 °C) and a fallback limit of 2 °C. (shouldn’t we take it up

“We are likely to have 2.4 degrees in that area, which is still catastrophic climate change and a far cry from the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Niklas Höhne, a climate scientist at the New Climate Institute and Climate Action. Tracker.

The group, which became independent from the United Nations, also looked at how warm it would be if other less firm national promises were implemented. If all of the presented national targets and other promises that include little force of law would be reduced, future warming drops to 2.1 degrees.

And in the “optimistic scenario” if all net-zero pledges for mid-century are taken into account, warming will be 1.8 degrees, Hohne said. This is the same figure that the International Energy Agency came up with for that optimistic scenario.

Anderson said the success is about his great-grandchildren living in a world with warming to the level set out in the Paris Agreement and that the “children on the street” protesting in Glasgow help inspire the UN negotiators to do more. Huh.

“Progress happens in meetings. Success in people’s lives comes when their livelihoods and their health and well-being improve,” Anderson told AP.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought her climate-celebrity star power to UN climate talks on Tuesday, told reporters she had a message for those young protesters: “Stay on the streets . keep pushing.”

As “high-level” ministers try to work out a deal by Friday, they have a huge gap to bridge. Or more accurately, multiple gaps: there is a confidence gap, a wealth gap, and a north-south gap, based on wealth, history, and future threats.

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 just $80 billion a year, which is still less than promised.

“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 it is more than just money, it is important to bridge 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?”

Anderson and Sharma are still holding out hope.

“We’re not done yet. We still have a few days to go,” Anderson said. “And so we’re definitely on our side, on the United Nations side, trying to hold everyone’s feet up in the fire. going to do it.”


Ellen Nickmeyer contributed to this report from Glasgow.


Read stories on climate issues by The Associated Press at


Follow Seth Borenstein and Anirudh Ghoshal on Twitter at @borenbears and @aniruddgh1


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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