Ground Report | New Delhi: India affected by climate change; The Glasgow Climate Summit or COP26 kicks off, the international meeting to address the great global challenge of our time: rising temperatures, the ravages of which are increasingly evident. The meeting was scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Has the extra year we had served any purpose?
India affected by climate change
India’s heatwaves are likely to last “25 times longer by 2036-2065”, given the scale of a 4 °C global temperature rise by the end of the century – the worst-case emissions estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Scenario – G20 Climate Impact Atlas.
If the global temperature rise is limited to about 2 °C, and if emissions are very low and the temperature rise reaches only 1.5 °C, heat waves will be “five times greater (than the current average) C”, in Rome. Adds the report released ahead of the October 30-31 G20 summit.
The report was launched ahead of the G20 summit to be held in Rome on October 30 and 31. It is likely to push the global emissions reduction agenda during the discussion, which is likely to be attended by several global leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Like everything in the international climate negotiation, which has now spanned three decades, the situation has its lights and shadows, a difficult panorama to interpret, gaseous, like the fumes that heat our atmosphere.
Governments and social agents have already started the transition to greener energies, and we are witnessing a change in the model that has no turning back. In Spain, for example, in 2020 photovoltaic installations increased their installed power by 34.1% compared to the previous year, and their products accounted for 6.2% of the country’s electricity, a value higher than that of coal plants for the first time.
But at the same time, scientists point out that emissions remain excessive and that at this rate climate change will have catastrophic consequences. At the same time, social pressure continues to grow, this time championed by groups of young people who replace sclerotic environmental lobbies in response. The streets are shaken asking political leaders for more ambition and a turn of the wheel. And legislators are sensitive to the street vote, you know.
But we can already anticipate a prediction based on what has happened in the 25 previous summits: whatever happens, the verdict of the street will be that it has not been enough and that we still do not solve the problems. International leaders will ensure for their part that progress and improvement continue.
There is no agreement to sign
Let no one feel disappointed if a great headline does not come out of this summit. The first thing to keep in mind is that, unlike in previous decades, there is no agreement to sign. It is not about that, since the pact exists. It is the Paris Agreement, approved in 2015 and which commits 193 countries to contain the rise in temperatures within the 1.5-degree safety margin.
The 1.5 degree target is far
The commitments expressed by the countries do not serve to stop the global rise in temperatures between now and the end of the century and leave it at 1.5 degrees, that is, the goal that was set in Paris in 2015. This is the conclusion of the recent report by the UN Environment Program presented this week. It indicates that the current path would lead to an increase of 2.7ºC by the year 2100.
According to the study, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) , that is, firm commitments expressed by countries, will only allow reducing emissions by 7.5% by 2030. This is far from the necessary 55% target. to leave the rise at 1.5ºC.
Financing poor countries
When it comes to paying, the terms are even longer than when it comes to reducing emissions. In 2015, in Paris, it was accepted that in 2020 the international community would mobilize 100 billion dollars a year to developing countries so that they could mitigate or reduce emissions and, in addition, take measures to adapt to climate change. (India affected by climate change)
The reality is that, in 2021, it has only managed to contribute 80,000 million. And donor countries say they are on track to reach 100 billion by 2023, or perhaps hopefully 2022. At best, two years late. Since rich countries do not seem willing to scratch their pockets with the speed they promised themselves, emerging economies do not feel morally concerned to reduce their emissions with the consequent immediate effect on their productivity. This is the case of India, which with 1,500 million people represents 20% of the world’s population, which this week made it clear that without gestures from the West it would not change its productive rhythm.
A new gas arrives, methane
When we talk about greenhouse gases we usually refer to carbon dioxide (CO2) par excellence. But in reality, there are half a dozen compounds that heat the atmosphere and, for simplicity, we even speak of “equivalent tons of CO2” to refer to the contribution of the rest of the gases.
Among the most ubiquitous and with the most effective is methane (CH4), a compound that comes from the decomposition of organic matter, and the digestion of food by mammals, such as cows, and whose weight in the climate is outstanding.
The experts explain that the reduction of methane could limit the increase in temperature more quickly than that of carbon dioxide. This gas, the second largest contributor to global warming, has a warming potential more than 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide in a 20-year time horizon; in addition, its life in the atmosphere is shorter than that of carbon dioxide: only 12 years, compared to the hundreds that CO2 can last.
One of the issues to be discussed in Glasgow is how to take action to tackle methane emissions. Especially considering that its effect on the climate is powerful and fast. Given the urgency to mitigate emissions by 2030, reducing methane quickly would be very beneficial.
Productive sectors and companies are key
At COP25 in Madrid, it could already be seen that the productive sectors and companies are anticipating the future and taking action.
In Glasgow, we are going to see more than ever the key role that companies and sectors have taken in the climate fight. United Nations initiatives such as the UN Global Compact bring together companies aligned with compliance with the 2030 Agenda, which includes the fight against climate change among its 17 sustainable development goals.
Within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the driving force behind POPs like the one in Glasgow, private companies play an important role. Not surprisingly, some of them have been taking measures in line with decarbonization for some time. In fact, some business actors are the ones that in recent times have demanded clear signals from governments and adequate regulatory frameworks to reinforce the path of the ecological transition.
The EU has pioneered the creation of an internal carbon market that penalizes actors for the emission of greenhouse gases and creates a clear framework for the exchange of emission rights, which can be traded or offset. (India affected by climate change)
Expanding this globally is one of the ideas of the Paris Agreement, but six years later the issue remains unclear. At COP25 in Madrid, the famous Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, referring to this issue, was still unsolved. And it remains to be seen that the Scottish meeting will be elucidated.