Cop26 sets course for disastrous heating of more than 2.4C, says key report


    Cop26 sets course for disastrous heating of more than 2.4C, says key report


    Cop26 sets course for disastrous heating of more than 2.4C, says key report

    Research from world’s top climate analysis coalition contrasts sharply with last week’s optimism

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    The Action Zone inside the venue for the Cop26 conference.

    The 197 parties to the 2015 Paris agreement were asked to come to Glasgow with two aims: a long-term goal of reaching global net zero emissions around mid-century; and shorter-term national plans, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), pegging emissions reductions to 2030. Scientists say greenhouse gas emissions must fall by about 45% this decade for global temperatures to stay within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels.

    Countries responsible for about 90% of global emissions have signed up to net zero goals, mostly by around 2050 for developed countries, rising to 2060 for China and 2070 for India, but the NDCs for actions in the next decade do not match up. The climate responds to the cumulative carbon in the atmosphere, so if emissions are high enough in the next two decades the world could surpass the 1.5C limit even if carbon reaches net zero later.

    “It’s great that countries have long-term net zero targets, but they need to close the gap with short-term measures,” said Hare.

    Stephen Cornelius, the chief climate adviser to WWF, who was not involved in the CAT research, said: “While it is encouraging to see some progress under the Paris agreement, the global warming projections released today shine a grave spotlight on how weak country 2030 targets really are.

    “It’s impossible to reach 1.5C on promises made today alone. We urgently need to see our leaders delivering credible action, powerful policies and ambitious funding now, if people and planet are to thrive tomorrow. We won’t forget which leaders stepped up when they needed to.”

    The first week of the Cop26 talks was dominated by a rush of announcements, including commitments on preserving forests, private sector finance for clean energy, and countries phasing out coal. Some of these quickly started to unravel as countries appeared to renege or clarify some of their commitments.

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    At the start of the second week of the fortnight-long talks, sharp rifts are appearing between countries that want tougher action, specifically to force countries to revise their NDCs annually if they are not in line with 1.5C, and others wanting to stick to the Paris timetable of five-yearly revisions. There are also disputes about how countries should monitor emissions, and over climate finance for poor countries.

    Hare noted there was no contradiction among the varying assessments, published last week by Melbourne University and the International Energy Agency, as they came to similar conclusions based on long-term goals. CAT also found in its “optimistic scenario” that if all targets countries had promised were fully met, temperatures would rise by 1.8C.

    The UN environment programme updated its analysis of the “emissions gap” between the cuts needed to stay within 1.5C and those offered by governments. UNEP found that with the recently announced pledges by China, Saudi Arabia and others, temperatures were likely to rise by between 1.9C and 2.1C, but like the IEA and Melbourne estimates, that depended on long-term pledges being fully implemented.

    NDCs, climate finance and 1.5C: your Cop26 jargon buster

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    Hare said many of the long-term goals countries had set out lacked credibility. He pointed to Brazil, Australia and Russia. “We are concerned that there is not a seriousness of purpose at Cop26. It’s very hypothetical, getting to net zero in 2050,” he said.

    Höhne said countries must agree to revise their NDCs every year if they were found insufficient, adding: “If we came back every five years that would be a very bad choice. If countries agree to come back every year, they would have a chance of closing the gap.”

    Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said: “This new calculation is like a telescope trained on an asteroid heading for Earth. It’s a devastating report. We have until the weekend to turn this thing around. That means countries agreeing how they’re going come back next year and every year after that until the gap to 1.5C is closed. The ministers shouldn’t leave this city until they’ve nailed that.”

    Labour’s Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said: “The test of Cop26 has always been what concrete commitments it would deliver by 2030, the decisive decade to keep 1.5C alive. This report is an important reality check on the government’s attempt to greenwash Glasgow.”

    A Cop26 spokesperson said: “We know that the window to keep 1.5C alive is closing but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that it is still achievable. As today’s reports make clear, we’ve seen genuine progress in the first week of Cop26, but we have a lot more to do.”


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    Published at Tue, 09 Nov 2021 14:00:10 +0000

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