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G20 and COP26 talks

Posted by Maria Cristina Chiulli on

Like a boa constrictor that slowly squeezes its prey to death, climate change has gone from being an uncomfortable low-level issue, to a life-threatening global emergency in the past three decades. Although there have been new and updated commitments made by countries ahead of COP26, the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if Paris goals are met. The science is clear: a rise of temperatures of that magnitude by the end of the century could mean, among other things, a 62% increase in areas scorched by wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere during summer, the loss of habitat of a third of the mammals in the world, and more frequent four to 10 month-long droughts. Millions of people are already being displaced and killed by disasters exacerbated by climate change. The clock is ticking, and to have a chance of limiting the rise, the world needs to halve greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.

This is a gigantic task that we only will be able to do if leaders attending COP26 come up with bold, time-bound and front-loaded plans to phase out coal and transform their economies to reach so-called net zero emissions. Many of the commitments delay action until after 2030, raising doubts over whether these net zero pledges can actually be achieved. Also, many of these pledges are “vague” and inconsistent with the officially submitted national commitments, known as NDC’s. This again explains why COP26 is so important. The time has passed for diplomatic niceties... If governments - especially G20 governments - do not stand up and lead this effort, we are headed for terrible human suffering.

There are four main points that will be discussed during the conference, according to the United Kingdom:

1. Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. To do this, countries need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, curb deforestation, speed up the switch to greener economies.  Carbon market mechanisms will be also part of the negotiations.

2. Adapt more to protect communities and natural habitats. Since the climate is already changing, countries already affected by climate change need to protect and restore ecosystems, as well as build defenses, warning systems and resilient infrastructure.

3. Mobilize finance. At COP15, rich nations promised to channel $100 billion a year to less-wealthy nations by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate further rises in temperature. That promise was not kept, and COP26 will be crucial to secure the funds, with the help of international financial institutions, as well as set new climate finance targets to be achieved by 2025.

4. Work together to deliver. This means establishing collaborations between governments, businesses and civil society, and of course, finalizing the Paris Rule book to make the Agreement fully operational.

In addition to formal negotiations, COP26 is expected to establish new initiatives and coalitions for delivering climate action. (source: un.org)

While the governments gather for the G20 and after at Cop26 taking decisions for all of us, environmental activists from all backgrounds are clamoring, also on behalf of the majority of silent people, for a decisive change of direction towards a real policy of reversing the current climate crisis through energy, agricultural, industrial, environmental and social policies. Enough with the greenwashing by governments, institutions and industries, it's time to act without fooling ourselves: the climate emergency is here and the environmental and human costs are already unsustainable. 

Awareness is needed from those who are still untouched by the climate emergency and think that these are issues for extreme and visionary activists. No one is exempt from the harmful effects of the brutality with which "advanced" civilization has been perpetrating an aggression against the environment and biodiversity unprecedented in history.
We must all realize that every behavior and consumption choice has an origin as well as short and long term effects, we are all connected, no one excluded. 

What are you waiting for? Adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle now!

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