With a hammer on the podium and a tone of disappointment, Alu Sharma, president of the COP26 Glasgow Climate Summit, announced a new climate agreement, apologizing to the representatives of 197 countries for the delay in announcing a final agreement, because the summit was It was due to expire on Saturday, but was delayed by a day due to disagreements over the final wording of the agreement.
The camera lenses captured the movements of the summit leader, who spent his day moving among the participating delegations, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two main poles: the West on the one hand, and China and India on the other, and the main point of contention between them was over the fate of dealing with coal in the coming years.
The work of the summit over the past two weeks was dominated by a conflict of wills between China on one side and the United States on the other, despite the two parties’ announcement that they had reached an agreement to work together to protect the environment.
In general, the points of contention and tension during this summit can be summarized in 4 main points: financing, the ambition that the world will achieve during 2050, compensation for environmental disasters due to climate change, and finally dealing with coal.
For many decades, scientists have been calling for keeping global warming at a rate of less than 2 degrees, which prompted the 2015 Paris Climate Summit to demand this goal. However, various environmental studies showed that this number is no longer sufficient, making the number 1.5 The degree is on the priority list of the Glasgow Climate Summit.
Indeed, the agreement stipulated the commitment of countries to achieving this goal, and despite the difficulty of achieving it due to the position of China and India on the use of coal, many scholars believe in the possibility of achieving it.
According to a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this figure will enable at least 10 million people to be protected from losing their homes due to tidal waves, and it will also protect two million square kilometers of permafrost in the Arctic, whose melting threatens to release waste Radioactive and dormant viruses for hundreds and thousands of years.
This number also contributes to reducing the number of people who will suffer from water scarcity by 50%, and reduce the melting of ice in the frozen poles during the summer.
Perhaps the phrase that the Minister of Environment of the Maldives Aminat Shona said expresses in depth the importance of this figure, when she said that “the difference between 2 degrees and 1.5 degrees is like the difference between condemning us to death or giving us the hope of life,” referring to the fact that the islands are threatened with disappearance if it remains. The environmental situation is what it is currently.
Scholars differ about the possibility of achieving this number, but optimism still prevails among many of them, especially with the number of commitments made by Western countries in particular, while waiting for China to join.
the hard number
The absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Glasgow climate summit was remarkable, and a message from Beijing to the world that it will move towards reducing greenhouse gases at its own pace, not at the pace imposed by the West.
From this standpoint, China announced that it will not start getting rid of coal until after 2030, and that it will reach “zero emissions” of polluting gases in the range of 2060 or 2065, while the global goal is to reach “neutrality” in emissions in 2050. .
This made China stand with India in front of the draft agreement of the Glasgow Summit, to change the phrase “commitment to dispense with coal” to “gradual reduction in the use of coal.”
China always takes its position on the grounds that it does not want to pay the price for the “mistakes” of the West during their industrial renaissance, and that it joined the race late. However, the numbers show that China has become the largest polluter in the world, and the polluting gases it produced during the past decade is twice what the United States produced. United.
Funding remains one of the embarrassing cards for rich countries, which China tried to play in order to embarrass the United States, when it supported – along with the so-called “Group of 77”, a group of 139 countries – the demands of the World Islands to provide special support for the losses that may be incurred by them due to disasters. natural resulting from climate change.
This request was met with strong rejection by the United States and the European Union, fearing that it would lead to legal liability for past emissions and claims for huge compensation, and indeed the “China Group” reluctantly accepted not to include this request in the final agreement.
To show that the West compelled China to relinquish its desire to continue using coal, in exchange for China relinquishing the demand for compensation for the damaged islands that embarrassed the West.
The responsibility remains on the rich countries in the framework of their commitment in the Glasgow Agreement to provide 100 billion dollars to help the poor countries achieve the energy transition and the use of clean energies, while seeking to reach double this amount during the next two decades, which the poor countries question, because the goal of reaching $100 billion was expected to be reached in 2020, but it has not yet been achieved.