Emissions

COP26: Rich Countries Cop It From Poor For Lack of Aid and Climate Action

More than 100 developing nations have united to deliver a scathing attack on rich countries. They want greenhouse gas emissions cut and financial aid ahead of COP26.

Poor nations are frustrated by the lack of progress at the recent G7 summit and G20 meeting of major global economies. Now, they are demanding “no more excuses.” Their key aims are set out in a 5 point plan.

More Action

Critical in the negotiations will be cutting emissions. So far, current climate policies will not keep global warming within the limits that governments agreed in Paris in 2015. The plan calls for an urgent increase in net-zero targets by those who are most responsible for global warming. Finance is another sticking point. COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 failed to deliver the promised $100bn a year in climate finance by 2020. This was supposed to increase annually from 2025. The cash injection is intended to help lower-income countries adapt to and fight climate change.

According to a 2020 United Nations report, developing countries are hardest hit by climate change. “Highly vulnerable countries like Somalia are already suffering disproportionally from the impacts of climate change,” said Mahdi M Gulaid, deputy prime minister of Somalia, one of the countries behind the plan. As a result, the plan also calls for at least 50% of climate finance to be used to help the most vulnerable to adapt to the effects of global warming.

Finally, the plan highlights the historical failure of richer countries to significantly tackle emissions. This means that the most vulnerable nations are currently experiencing the repercussions of extreme weather events. The plan calls for “fair share accounting” whereby emissions cuts are based on responsibility and the capacity to act. If this came into force, the US would need to reduce emissions by 195% below 2005 levels by 2030. Similarly, the UK would see a 70% emissions cut by 2030 plus $46bn a year in climate finance.

Less Conversation

COP26, the global United Nations conference about climate change, is considered the most important event on climate since the 2015 Paris Agreement. This November, it will come to Glasgow for its 26th meeting. Delayed for a year due to the Corona pandemic, now poorer nations want promises fulfilled.

“COP26 needs to be a summit where we see action, not words. We have enough plans: what we need is for major economies to start delivering on their promises. Our economies are suffering in the face of increased climate impacts and budgetary strains: either we invest our way out of this mess or we face a brutal decade of loss and damage.”

The poorer nations also point to the richer nations’ responses during the Covid-19 pandemic. They cite the failure to deliver vaccines and debt relief as mirroring the lack of climate action and financial aid offered. According to Sonam P Wangdi of Bhutan, who will chair the Least Developed Countries Group at COP26, ”Despite Covid understandably taking the headlines, climate change has been getting worse over the past year as emissions continue to rise and the lives and livelihoods on the front line suffer.”

Find out more about COP26 here.

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