World leaders fail to honour climate pledges
The UN climate summit has been slammed as a failure after India and China weakened language on phasing out fossil fuels and historical polluters refused to accept liability for damage caused by extreme weather. At first, negotiators at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow wanted a faster phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. Then they pushed for ending “unabated” coal burning and “inefficient” subsidies. A third draft suggested accelerating “efforts toward” their phase-out. By the time diplomats hammered out a text they could all agree to, the term was downgraded to a “phase-down” the use of unabated coal. The result of that semantic spat… watered down to levels well below what scientists say is needed to halt global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures — was among the hardest-fought outcomes of two weeks of international negotiations to stop the planet hurtling closer towards catastrophic changes in the climate. But like many of the decisions coming out of the COP26 climate summit, the final agreement has been widely slammed as weak and ineffective.
Antigua & Barbuda, Tuvalu seek justice for climate change damage before international courts
Speaking at the signing ceremony of a historic accord which opens the way for ground-breaking litigation before international courts, PM Antigua & Barbuda said: “We (SIDS) insist that those States most responsible for this dire situation respect their legal obligations to stop global warming and to provide compensation to its victims”. A novel legal path to address the severe damage to SIDS brought about by climate change was set in motion. The Agreement, establishing a Commission of SIDS on Climate Change and International Law, creates a body for the development and implementation of fair and just global #environmental norms and practices. This is to facilitate the development of effective mechanisms for the States most responsible for climate change to compensate for the resulting loss and damage. According to the legal counsel to the Commission, Professor Payam Akhavan: “The fundamental principle of international law not to cause harm to others has now taken an #unprecedented dimension”.
Greater Ambition Now Critical
Following a series of reports and studies warning that urgent action is needed to keep the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, the United Nations Climate Change Conference opened today with the key aims of raising ambition on all fronts and finalizing the agreement’s implementation guidelines. Greater ambition is required to achieve progress on all elements of the climate change agenda, including reducing emissions, moving adaptation to the centre of the agenda, addressing loss and damage from extreme climatic events and increasing the provision of support to developing countries. A central issue is the provision of support to developing countries, especially in relation to the goal of mobilizing ~$100 billion annually by 2020. Financial support is crucial for all elements of the climate change regime, including mitigation, but also in terms of adaptation, capacity-building, technology transfer and several other elements.
Centre of Excellence for Climate and Disaster Resilience
The World Meteorological Organization and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction are marking 13 October, International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, with the announcement of the creation of a Centre of Excellence for Climate and Disaster Resilience. According to Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General: “This new Centre of Excellence for Climate and Disaster Resilience will act as an information hub about the escalating impacts of climate change and extreme weather and how we can manage and mitigate these risks. “This year’s devastating floods in Europe and the deadly heatwave in North America has shown that developed and developing countries alike are exposed. But there is an ever-widening resilience gap between rich and poor nations that lack multi-hazard early warning systems. “We hope that the Centre of Excellence will strengthen our efforts to transform scientific knowledge and tools into action supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation, with concrete benefits for society.” Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “This new Centre of Excellence will concentrate minds on what extreme weather and other hazards mean for daily life on planet Earth for the foreseeable future and spur efforts to adapt and cope with that reality.
Most Vulnerable countries leading the climate response
A new report released by the UNDP ahead of COP26 climate negotiations reveals that while 93% of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) had submitted enhanced national climate pledges or plan to do so, nearly half of the G20 are not yet adhering to the core principles of the Paris Agreement and scaled-up climate ambition. As the countries responsible for more than three-quarters of global #GHG emissions, the role of the G20 in combatting the climate crisis is significant. The report also flagged that four of the G20 countries responsible for 33% of global GHG emissions had not submitted their updated NDCs as of October 12, 2021, the cut-off date for inclusion in analysis of the UNFCCC, which is meant to inform the #UN climate talks beginning in Glasgow in a few days. In addition, of the 16 NDCs submitted by G20 members, five countries responsible for 13.1% of global GHG emissions did not strengthen their mitigation targets. Even for those that have strengthened their NDC pledges, the consensus is that much more must be done to help prevent the dangerous global trajectory of current GHG emissions.