A look at the top issues for this year’s UN climate summit

A look at the top issues for this year’s UN climate summit

BERLIN -- The U.N. climate summit this year raises an urgent question for the international community: Can the entire world unite to combat the common enemy of global heating before it is too late?

Talks that begin Sunday in Scotland are bound to be intense. However, the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, as well as the recent energy crunch, have added pressure on the two week meeting.

These are the five most pressing issues in Glasgow.

RICH COUNTRIES OWE POR ONES

In 2020, the pledge of rich countries to mobilise $100 billion annually for poor nations in order to combat climate change was unlikely to be fulfilled. The funding for 2019 was only $80 billion, according to estimates.

Failure to fulfill a 2009 promise has caused distrust and anger among the poor, with some vowing to block any agreement until money is available.

There is no standard formula or way to determine how each country should contribute to the total. The Washington-based World Resources Institute found that only a few rich countries (including France, Japan and Norway) contributed a fair amount to the total. Canada, Australia, and the United States came in a distant third.

This week , one solution was proposed : The payments should average $100 billion annually from 2021-2025 with any shortfalls made up by higher payments later in the year.

The Glasgow talks will be used by developing countries to demand that half of the money be allocated to projects to adapt to climate change. The majority of funding currently goes towards reducing emissions.

It's time for poor nations to insist that it's time to think about who will be responsible for habitat and livelihood destruction from rising seas, desertification and other extreme weather.

Sonam P. Wangdi, Bhutan's chair of the Least Developed Countries group at these talks, stated that "our people are suffering in a variety a consequence of a crisis they did not cause."

CARBON TRADING

The rules for international carbon trading are a major issue from the 2015 Paris climate summit. This is a key tool to harness the market forces against global warming.

Two years ago, Madrid's Paris rulebook was not finalized by the negotiators. They will try again in Glasgow. There will be those who want stricter rules to prevent carbon vouchers of no value flooding the market. The other side will include developing countries that insist on the honor of certificates accumulated under prior agreements.

These rules are crucial because many countries and businesses will need to reach "net zero" emissions by midcentury. To do so, they will need to have an equal amount of carbon that can be reliably captured through technology or forests.

The establishment of a truly international carbon market offers the opportunity to raise money via transaction fees. However, it is not clear who will manage them and how.

ENSURING TRANSPARENCY, COMMITTING TO NEW TARGETS

Transparency is an important element of the talks. Because of the Paris accord's voluntary nature, countries will closely monitor how much progress other countries make before they raise their targets another notch.

Another issue is the reporting deadline for new pollution-reduction targets. Current agreements require that developed countries set new goals every five year, but some participants would prefer annual pledges to ensure the world meets the Paris goals.

METHANE

In past negotiations, Methane, which is the main component of natural gas, was somewhat neglected.

It is a greenhouse gas that has a 20-fold greater potency than carbon dioxide, but it stays in the atmosphere for less than a decade. A small, but significant improvement in emissions could be made by fixing gas pipeline leakages and limiting flaring at drilling locations.

Kelly Levin, chief scientist, data, and systems change at Bezos Earth Fund, stated that the world cannot solve its climate problems without cutting methane.

THE 45% PLEDGE

The U.N. has set a goal to reduce global warming emissions by 45 percent by 2030, which is not a negotiating point but a goal for the talks. Emissions are increasing, but not decreasing.

The next decade will see emissions reduced by half. This is a crucial step on the road to net zero by 2050. Scientists believe this is the only way to reach the Paris agreement's goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Updated Date: 29 October 2021, 07:39

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