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COP26 / Analysis: The commitments made will slightly reduce the temperature rise

COP26 / Analysis: The commitments made will slightly reduce the temperature rise

Commitments made at the United Nations climate conference COP26 to reduce methane emissions, forgo coal and protect forests will reduce global warming by just a tenth of a degree, according to a study that tracks climate action published Tuesday.

This is the most serious warning yet that the goals of the two-week conference in Glasgow may not be met. Track Climate Action is a joint initiative of three German-based analytical institutions that monitor actions governments are taking to contain global warming.

The main objective of COP26 is to advance the arrangements made at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, when all countries first signed an agreement to combat global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was then agreed that “all parties shall continue their efforts” to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and to keep this rise “well below” 2.0°C.

Currently, according to various calculations, the average temperature on Earth is already 1.1-1.2 ° C higher than before the beginning of the industrial era, and according to the report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published before COP26, if not more. Emission reduction agreements are agreed, and the increase in global temperatures by the end of this century will reach 2.7 degrees Celsius relative to the beginning of the industrial age.

But according to the Climate Action Tracker, if all the short-term commitments made during COP26 are met, that is, by 2030, the average temperature increase by 2100 will be 2.4°C anyway, and if the short- and long-term commitments are met It will be 2.1 degrees Celsius.

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It has been pointed out that global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will remain nearly twice the level required to maintain global warming within 1.5°C.

In the first week of COP26, a number of agreements were announced, for example to stop deforestation, move away from coal and reduce methane emissions. However, analysis of the Climate Action Tracking showed that some of these commitments were already included in national emissions reduction plans submitted to the United Nations. Removing such a double-counting means that these commitments will in fact have less impact on global warming than previously claimed.

Professor A. said: Niklas Hohne of the NewClimate Institute in Cologne, one of the institutions that make up the Climate Action Tracker.

The analysis indicated that most of the promises made at COP26 relate to achieving net zero emissions in the long term, for example, the United States announced that it will achieve this goal in 2050, China – in 2060, and India – in 2070.

However, the pace at which global climate change is advancing is that by 2030 the world will approach a 1.5°C warming, which is why short-term emissions reduction targets are so important, and few countries have provided them yet – emphasized in the analysis.

“The vast majority of actions and targets for 2030 are not aligned with net-zero targets: there is a roughly 1°C gap between governments’ current policies and net-zero emissions targets,” said Bill Hare, president of Berlin-based Climate Analytics, which tracks the work of the study. the climate.

“It’s very good for leaders to say they have a net zero goal, but if they don’t have plans on how to achieve it, and their goals for 2030 are as low as they are in many cases, then frankly, these zero net emissions targets are just word of mouth, not actions. Real climate. There is a serious credibility gap in Glasgow.”

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The analysis takes into account the most optimistic scenario, in which countries fulfill all commitments in their national plans submitted to the United Nations, as well as all declarations made by the Climate Summit, on time and in full. But even in this case, the average temperature in 2100 will be 1.8 ° C higher than it was before the beginning of the industrial age.

From London Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)

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