The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opened, Sunday, October 31, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland at a cruising speed. On Monday we witnessed the intervention of several heads of state and government including Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson, who from the podium of the “most important climate conference” all called for action.
Failure to negotiate would cause “uncontrollable anger and impatience,” warned the British Prime Minister. Boris Johnson, who set the tone for the two-day summit of world leaders held as part of the major UN climate conference. He warned that if Glasgow does not deliver the expected results, generations to come “will not forgive him .” Frenchman Emmanuel Macron called on “the biggest emitters” to “step up their ambitions” before the end of the conference which runs until 12 November. For him, nothing has been decided yet because “this COP26 can still be a success”.
American president, Joe Biden is categorical: “We have no more time for disagreements.”
“Amid the growing catastrophe, I think there is an incredible opportunity, not just for the United States, but for all of us,” he said.
Taking action on climate change, he said, is a moral and economic imperative. The US president reassured that the United States will “be able to meet the target of reducing emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a more alarmist speech: “The six years since the Paris Climate Agreement have been the hottest six years on record.”
“Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing us with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves “, he said, announcing, moreover, that “our dependence on fossil fuels pushes humanity to the brink.”
“We are faced with a difficult choice: either we stop it or it stops us. It is time to say: enough is enough, “he said, warning that” if the commitments fail by the end of this COP, countries must review their national climate plans and policies every year until the maintenance at 1.5 degrees is ensured… And until the carbon is eliminated ”.
6 years after COP21 and the signing of the Paris Agreement, COP 26 is perceived as the “most important climate conference”. The first discussions began on Monday, November 1 and will last about ten days, until November 12. Negotiators will be aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Delegates from 197 countries and organizations will take part in the negotiations.
Although several Heads of State and Government including Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson are present, this COP26 will have to be held without certain presidents including the Chinese Xi Jinping, the Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Russian Vladimir Poutin whose countries are part of the biggest polluters.
Several African leaders including the Togolese Faure Gnassingbé who calls for “a collective leap, for immediate action”.
Clearly define mechanisms for implementing the Paris Agreement
Present, also in Glasgow, the Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum, declared that “the worsening of climate change is particularly worrying for a country like Niger, located in the heart of the Sahel and threatened by an implacable desertification which is causing the sand burial of agricultural and pastoral areas ”.
“Thus, the pastoral populations are forced to always move south and to dispute with the local communities for natural resources which have long been doomed to an inexorable process of depletion, victims in this respect of recurrent droughts and paradoxically episodes of ‘particularly destructive floods in recent years,’ he said.
The Nigerien president called on the international community to mobilize, through a special fund, alongside Sahelian countries threatened by sand as it mobilizes alongside small island countries invaded by ocean waters. “Such a fund should help reforest areas invaded by the desert,” said Mohamed Bazoum.
The last-chance COP
Drought, food insecurity, flooding… the effects of climate change are very noticeable in African countries, especially those in the Sahel. Those countries that have no responsibility for climate change are the ones paying the heaviest price. So, in Glasgow, African leaders adopted a common position. They intend to call on issuing countries to “respect their commitments vis-à-vis developing countries, by clearly defining the mechanisms for implementing the Paris Agreement”.
This COP is the last chance for ambition. States need to arrive at more robust promises, reduce their CO2 emissions, release trillions of dollars to finance the climate transition in developing countries, and finish drawing up the rules for implementing the commitments made when nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The COP26 must, moreover, keep alive the hope of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial period, beyond which the effects of climate change s ‘announce a catastrophic magnitude, according to experts’ forecasts.