Even after the end of the UN Climate Change Conference, we are still a long way from achieving the 1.5°C target that is urgently needed if we are to avoid the most devastating effects of the global climate crisis. According to calculations by the IEA, even if all the pledges made in Glasgow are actually kept, which is by no means certain, the Earth will still heat up by at least 1.8°C. That is clearly too much. But even though the results of COP26 are disappointing, there was also progress in some areas.
It is noteworthy that this is the first time that a COP final statement has explicitly called for the use of coal to be reduced. The original version even talked of phasing out coal altogether, but this was watered down at the last minute at the insistence of India, China and the U.S. Nevertheless, the demand goes beyond previous agreements and could make it much more difficult for new coal-fired power plants and mines to receive financing. In addition, Costa Rica and Denmark led the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance at COP26 as a commitment to ending oil and gas extraction. Unfortunately, Germany has yet to join the alliance.
International emissions trading
The rules adopted for international emissions trading, which are intended to prevent double-counting of greenhouse gas reductions, are a further step toward reducing global CO2 emissions. To effectively combat the climate crisis, we urgently need a globally uniform framework for countries, institutions and companies on the path to climate neutrality, with binding rules and standards. But there are still some loopholes and opportunities for greenwashing here. These must be urgently eliminated.
Countries must make improvements
Many countries also urgently need to catch up on their emissions reduction targets. Some countries have not yet reported any reduction targets at all to the UN, although this was planned for 2020 in the Paris Climate Agreement. The final statement from Glasgow now stipulates that all countries must present their ambitions by the end of 2022 and report to the UN. The United Nations is calling on all countries to submit revised national targets (nationally determined contributions) until 2025 and 2030 respectively to meet the 1.5°C target. The commitments that countries have made so far would still lead to global warming of 2.4°C.
The U.S. and China want to work together
The U.S. and China caused a stir in Glasgow by agreeing to collaborate on climate protection. This has not yet resulted in any specific measures, but the mere fact that the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases are talking to each other about climate protection despite diplomatic tensions in other areas is a positive signal.
No firm commitments for developing countries
By contrast, developing countries – many of which have already been hardest hit by the climate crisis – suffered a disappointment. Their demands for additional financial resources to achieve climate neutrality and for climate adaptation were not met by the industrialized countries, which are the main drivers behind the climate crisis.
I would have very much liked COP26 to finally put in place the framework conditions for the path to the 1.5°C target with brave and urgently needed resolutions. Unfortunately, once again, this did not happen. Nevertheless, we must not give up now. It is not just companies and institutions that need to make an effort, but each and every one of us can continue to contribute to climate protection through smart decisions and sustainable action. And it is up to the international leaders to continuously improve their climate protection ambitions, to report their plans to the UN as envisaged in the final statement and to become role models for others. I am convinced that through appropriate commitment at all levels, we can at least come close to the 1.5°C target.
Here SMA CEO Jürgen Reinert writes about topics that move him.
https://www.sma-sunny.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/UNclimatechange.jpg6761400Jürgen Reinert/wp-content/themes/enfold-child/images/SMA-LOGO-Color_s-1.pngJürgen Reinert2021-11-18 14:43:282021-11-18 14:46:20COP 26: Again not a big hit