Was COP26 a failure?


By Saturday, most of the delegates had left Glasgow, except for the negotiating team.

After a full 24-hour extension to the UN Climate Change Conference 2021, the rest of the tired negotiators at COP26 in Glasgow finally agreed on a “soft and weak text” that only kept the 1.5C target alive. In the eleventh hour, India intervened, insisting that the last Glasgow Climate Agreement be “phased out” by converting coal to a “phase out”.

Other developing countries protested and Alok Sharma, who was clearly disturbed by the UK’s appointment as COP26 president, cowardly tried to persuade India otherwise it would be the COP in history. Dirty Fossil Fuel). However, negotiators from nearly 200 countries in the final plenary finally adopted a weaker text to prevent the global agreement from ending in a disappointing failure. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, in spite of his weak language, took a positive stance, saying: “The conference began with the elimination of coal.

In the end, whether the Glasgow Climate Pack was a major setback or the progress towards the 1.5C target really depends on how you view it. “The multilateral process is very slow and painful but it is a consensual process and there is no other alternative,” said Daniela Charity, an environmental correspondent from Brazil who has covered all COPs since the 2009 Copenhagen Summit. Has been “It takes time. It was a very interesting COP to provide and with the active involvement of the private sector (which is also interested in finding a solution to the climate crisis). However, Farhana Yameen, a climate lawyer and activist. And the Adviser to the Environmental Risk Forum, “COP26 failed to prevent climate change and failed to provide financial assistance to vulnerable countries, including Pakistan, which are already facing catastrophe. This is a sad day for multilateralism. “

Disappointed protesters outside the COP26 venue.

From the very beginning of the conference, many delegates were privately associated with low expectations, saying that it would not be possible to achieve countries that are still reeling from the economic downturn caused by epidemics. Scientists say global temperatures need to be limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Scientists say the effects of the climate crisis, such as heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels, could be catastrophic and irreversible beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

By Saturday, most of the delegates had left Glasgow, except for the negotiating team, leaving the halls of the Scottish Exhibition Center empty. Just getting to the venue requires daily testing for COVID, standing in long queues outside in the cold (except for the last few days) and enduring the bad and expensive food presented at the conference.

Most events, such as the Barack Obama ceremony where the former US president spoke, were somehow closed to most delegates due to code restrictions, and masks had to be worn inside (there were constant rumors that delegates were coded And quietly withdrew from the conference). Energy levels within the “blue zone” were low because the so-called central area and the busiest halls were actually the country’s pavilions where many events were held. The Pakistan Pavilion was very busy with dozens of side events and the delegation led by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam had several successful bilateral meetings in the side rooms of the pavilion.

The “Green Zone” which was open to the public was in a different location from the “Blue Zone” and it hosted many interesting exhibitions related to the latest electric cars and trucks and wind farms and solar energy. According to Amin Aslam, “the silver lining of this process is not in this room but around it – the green zone – where private sector initiatives are gaining momentum” and technologies are becoming available and affordable. “Pakistan is active with all this” out of the box “thinking and that is what gives rise to the hope that a new world – a decarbonized and naturally positive world – is possible,” he said.

Just before arriving in Glasgow, Pakistan, along with several other countries, submitted an ambitious document of nationally agreed partnership to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). NDCs are voluntary commitments by countries to reduce their emissions in this century and are considered key pillars of the Paris Agreement. However, an analysis presented in Glasgow by a team of meteorological analysts indicated that all national emissions plans agreed at the conference would take the world to about 2.4C of global warming, which is beyond safe limits. ۔ In the last hours in Glasgow, the nations agreed to return next year to revise their national goals in line with the 1.5C target, which most countries hailed as a good result.

Members of the Pakistani delegation with the Minister of Environment of the United Arab Emirates.

However, the world’s poorest countries crushed Glasgow because they did not agree on the loss and damage (compensation for the poor countries affected by climate change, which they did not make). Bangladeshi meteorologist Saleem-ul-Haq, another COP veteran, said the weaker developing countries were “deeply disappointed” by Glasgow’s loss and loss facility, which negotiators were working on during the two-week-long conference. Deleted from final text. He tweeted “COP26 presidency deceived the weak when America pushed!” Rich nations fear loss and damage because they fear that they will pay a lot of money to poor countries for the damage caused by climate change.

“COP26 is over, blah, blah, blah; we will never give up,” said Greta Thornberg, a young meteorologist who inspired young people with her Friday for the Future Movement and who visited Madrid in 2019. The COP was electrified. She was in this COP. Surprisingly disappears from the halls after a brief appearance at the beginning of the conference. “I think she’s gotten old now and her rhetoric has become too radical. She doesn’t expect much from the UNFCCC process anymore. I personally think the UK COP presidency doesn’t give her much platform in COP26. Wanted to give, “said a British journalist who declined to be named. Instead, Thornberg led marches outside the conference, notably the two major weather marches that drew thousands of protesters to Glasgow over the weekend.

According to well-known British columnist George Monbiot, who covered COP26, “Friday for the Future is approaching, researchers suggest pushing the European political system into a” critical state. It has been disrupted by an epidemic. ” Was, and the tipping has not yet taken place. But observing the power, the organization, and the rage of the movements gathering in Glasgow, I suspect that the momentum is regaining momentum. They call COP26 a complete failure and There is hope for the future, “he said.” If we can simultaneously mobilize systemic change in both technology and politics, we may have a chance. That sounds like a wild hope. But we have no choice. Our survival depends on increasing the scale of civil disobedience until we create the largest mass movement in history, mobilizing 25% of the people who can turn the system around. We do not agree with the destruction of life on earth. “

Photos courtesy of Reena Saeed Khan.

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