In the last year, Spain has begun the process to prepare its first Climate Change Law, China has announced emissions neutrality by 2060 and the election of Joe Biden has “renewed hope”.
One year after the COP25 in Madrid, the international pulse against the big polluters for them to stop being so is tense, waiting for the role of carbon markets to offset emissions to be determined, a debate that will be key at the next climate summit in the United Kingdom.
Despite the restrictions on movement and economic activity due to the confinement due to the coronavirus that have reduced emissions this year, the concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) remain maintaining record levels, given that the particles remain for centuries in the atmosphere and even longer in the oceans, according to experts.
While the European Union (EU) has continued to increase its decarbonization commitments during the current year, in which global climate action should be reinforced according to the Paris Agreement, with more ambitious contributions or NDCs from countries on the other side of the world, in the Asian extreme, China has announced the emission neutrality by 2060, and Japan and South Korea, by 2050, respectively.
In addition, according to the experts consulted by Efe, the new role of the United States with the change of government generates optimism about a possible return of the country to the Paris Agreement, whose signing marks five years in December, and from which the nation has just dissociated itself by decision of its former president, Donald Trump, despite the fact that almost 200 countries are part of the great climate pact.
Fernanda Carvalho, head of global policy for the climate and energy program at WWF International, explains that the recent election of Joe Biden as the new US president “will renew hope” in the big countries when it comes to resuming their climatic “role” in “the new game” of geopolitics and multilateralism.
This year “has not been a lost exercise” despite the postponement until 2021 of the climate summit in Glasgow (United Kingdom) because of the coronavirus. “We have seen important signals in defense of the climate by key nations such as China”, the world’s biggest polluter.
They have also increased their ambition Canada, UK, even Chile, which was co-host of the last climate summit held in Madrid and has presented new commitments, despite being immersed in “a time of difficulties due to social conflicts”; In addition, the Andean country “continues to work” to implement its objectives even with “the challenges” of COVID-19, according to the head of WWF.
One of the stumbling blocks to be resolved at the Glasgow summit is the wording of article 6 on carbon markets included in the Paris Agreement, the final wording of which will be one of the “most important” points to debate, explains the activist Carvalho, as head of WWF, an international organization especially committed to defending the climate.
This regulation establishes a mechanism so that the most polluting countries can “buy” the least polluting a part of their “quota” of annual emissions, so that whoever pollutes more, pays more.
However, according to the Chilean Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Action “Champion” of the COP25, it must be defined “how we do to put a fair price on carbon in everything that refers to a ton emitted and a ton captured and sequestered”.
“We have to move towards a understandable and affordable carbon market around the world, so that trade begins to incorporate this metric very quickly to align incentives throughout the value chain”, adds the “Champion” of climate action, whose mandate is promoted by the UN to mobilize action for the climate between actors from all over the world, not just state ones.
The impacts of the climate emergency are evident in the form of hurricanes and tornados, together with torrential rains that cause droughts and desertification, as well as mega-fires, ocean acidification and a sea level that rises due to the melting of the poles and threatens the survival of numerous coastal territories.
The economic recovery packages in the new times of the coronavirus present “opportunities” for sustainability, especially for the energy transition and the generation of green jobs; Countries are also expected to identify nature-based solutions to climate change. “I think that this type of debate will be very relevant at COP26”, added the head of WWF.
The international aid budgets to mitigate climate change, as well as the mechanisms that increase the resilience of all the places in the world that suffer direct impacts from the climate crisis and, therefore, “enormous suffering” will also be the subject of debate at the next climate summit, it specifies Gonzalo Munoz.
“We will have a COP26 on biodiversity, and therefore, I hope that during 2021 the world learns to value ecosystem services and to place a value on everything that nature means with its ability to generate life and keep ourselves alive”, concludes the High-Level Champion of climate action.