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Countries around the world are once again trying to prevent a climate catastrophe – is the Glasgow Climate Summit a real breakthrough or an empty promise?

It might be too late now

COP 26, launched yesterday, which covers the acronym “COP,” brings together participants for annual UN climate summits. Accordingly, the first conference in 1995 is known as COP1, and the current summit in Glasgow is the 26th in a row.

Despite the fact that the conference is held every year, only two conferences are really firmly established in the public consciousness. One is the Kyoto Summit of 1997, at which the Kyoto Protocol, which expired in 2020, was adopted, and the other is the Paris Conference in 2016, where the current climate agreement was enshrined by countries around the world.

The Paris climate agreement had two main goals: on the one hand, to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, and on the other hand, to target a peak at 1.5 degrees.

The main goal of the current climate summit is to maintain the belief that it is still realistic to keep the Earth’s average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius.. Otherwise, according to experts, we’ll see lovely times, when severe storms, devastating wildfires, heat waves and droughts become almost commonplace.

That’s why, before the Glasgow Climate Summit, every country needs to develop an action plan to show how they plan to tackle climate change. However, many countries have not yet set ambitious targets or their targets are insufficient.

In addition, the United Nations stated that it did to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Even with current commitments, the planet’s temperature could rise by an average of 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels.

The world is torn in two

As in all climate peaks so far Once again, the biggest disagreement is between rich and developing countries. In fact, developed, and mostly Western, countries blame developing countries for drastically warming the planet, mainly due to their high emissions.

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These include China or India, which are undoubtedly the world’s largest polluters and responsible for 30 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. At the same time, these countries accuse the Western world of not supporting them sufficiently in the transition to environmentally friendly technologies. This is understandable, of course, because countries in this group do not want to give up development either, especially in light of the fact that fossil fuels in the Western world, among other things, have created the prosperity that is now commonplace.

In this context, and even within the framework of the Paris climate agreement, rich countries pledged $100 billion annually to help poor countries combat climate change by 2020, but this goal is likely to be achieved only by 2023.

Until then, it is not possible to expect countries that need help to reduce their emissions significantly.

Ambitious but questionable commitments

Back in the summer, for example, the European Union put on the table its own climate package, called “Fit for 55,” which aims to achieve carbon neutrality in society by 2050. To achieve this, emissions would be reduced by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Previous plans included a 40 percent reduction, but EU policymakers felt that more ambitious targets were needed to avoid the more serious consequences of climate change.

While it is also optimistic that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently promised that his country will only use clean energy by 2035, and that Joe Biden has reached the top of the climate with an ambitious green package, there are still serious doubts about these countries. in terms of feasibility.

In the case of the British, the oil and gas fields in the North Sea would have to be abandoned for this, something for which there is no preparation yet.Especially since such a step could easily push the island state to rely on energy, the risks of which are reflected in the current energy crisis. And for Americans, it is not even certain whether the president will succeed in hacking the climate plan in Congress, where Democrats are only the majority.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced that Australia, one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases in terms of population and a major source of fossil fuels, It plans to reach zero emissions by 2050. And in September, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also mentioned this Turkey will also ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Protection, the last of the G-20.

A lot depends on the big pollutants

However, it is important and worrisome that Chinese President Xi Qingping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro did not attend the conference in person.

As for China’s commitments, the Asian superpower’s CO2 emissions are expected to peak by 2030, after which emissions will gradually decline and the country, like Saudi Arabia, will be able to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.However, the details of this are unknown. The international community also sought to persuade China to bring forward the date of the carbon summit by 2025, but this did not work. At the same time, China promised not to finance projects abroad to build coal-fired power plants.

However, India is unwilling to target net zero emissions at present, but instead wants countries around the world to collectively create a framework within which to “reduce emissions” to avoid dangerous global warming.

Because of the above, many people believe that the current climate summit will not be a breakthrough. Many fear that this will only delay the adoption of a substantive agreement. However, time is running out and this is evident for more countries.

This fear is justified in the sense that the ambitious ideas of the Paris Conference, adopted six years ago, have not been realized, and that the biggest polluters, even if there is a growing willingness to reduce emissions, are far from sufficient.

That is why it is easy for the parties to raise high expectations about the upcoming conference in Sharm el-Sheikh., as it has happened several times in the past. Of course, this is not necessarily the case, but it is clear that resolving the impasse will require a permanent settlement between the adjusting countries and the poorer countries over financing the costs of climate change.

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Cover image source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images