I believe what is happening here is far from business as usual. I have never counted as many initiatives and as much real money — real money — being put on the table. — John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change
I believe what is happening here is far from business as usual. I have never counted as many initiatives and as much real money — real money — being put on the table. — John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change
Can Glasgow Deliver on a Global Climate Deal?
The international climate summit here has been billed as the “last, best hope” to save the planet. But as the United Nations conference enters its second week and negotiators from 197 countries knuckle down to finalize a new agreement to tackle global warming, attendees were sharply divided over how much progress is being made.

There’s the optimistic view: Heads of state and titans of industry showed up in force last week with splashy new climate promises, a sign that momentum was building in the right direction.

“I believe what is happening here is far from business as usual,” said John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change, who has been attending U.N. climate summits since 1992. “I have never counted as many initiatives and as much real money — real money — being put on the table.”

For example, 105 countries agreed to cut emissions of methane, a potent planet-warming gas, by 30 percent this decade. Another 130 countries vowed to halt deforestation by 2030 and commit billions of dollars toward the effort. India for the first time joined the growing chorus of nations pledging to reach “net zero” emissions, setting a 2070 deadline to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.


Then there’s the pessimistic view: All these gauzy promises mean little without concrete plans to follow through. And that’s still lacking. Or, as the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg put it, the conference has mostly consisted of “blah, blah, blah.”

... When the conference opened last Monday, the U.N. secretary general, AntΓ³nio Guterres, said the top priority must be to limit the rise in global temperatures to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. That’s the threshold, scientists have warned, beyond which the risk of calamities like deadly heat waves, water shortages and ecosystem collapse grows immensely. (The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.)

Countries are all but certain to leave Glasgow short of achieving that goal. The big question is whether the lofty pledges this week, along with a new formal agreement, can push them further along.

When analysts at the United Nations tallied up all of the formal plans that nations have submitted so far to curb emissions over the next decade, they estimated that the world was on track to heat up roughly 2.7 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100. That’s both an improvement over where things stood a decade ago and also far off-track.

To limit warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, the U.N. said, global emissions from fossil fuels need to plummet by roughly half between 2010 and 2030. Instead, emissions are set to rise over that period.

“Recent climate action announcements might give the impression that we are on track to turn things around,” Mr. Guterres said last week. “This is an illusion.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/08/climate/glasgow-climate-summit.html