Tuesday, December 7

COP26: a date with our last chance with the climate

Many things have changed since the last COP25 in Madrid in December 2019. Right now, global efforts to combat the climate crisis are taking place in an environment that has been completely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have also witnessed how the climate crisis has worsened, with serious consequences around the world and in Europe in the form of torrential rains, floods, heat waves and fires. Scientific reports have made it clear that the worst is yet to come unless we take action in defense of the climate and make immediate, ambitious and concrete progress in the fight against the climate crisis.

Over the past two years, the EU has remained steadfast in its commitment to becoming a climate leader, not only setting ambitious targets, but also translating them into legislation in order to achieve climate neutrality, at the latest, from here to 2050.

We now have the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law and the ‘Goal 55’ package of measures. Other countries and continents have also moved in the right direction. For example, China has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, while the United States has returned to the Paris Agreement and has made a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

However, we must ensure that these commitments are translated into concrete measures and policies and are backed by meaningful international commitment and cooperation.

A positive development in this regard would be for the EU and all G20 countries to go one step ahead and commit to climate neutrality by 2050, giving a boost to global measures to combat climate change by increasing the level of ambition both in the short and long term.

The G20 commitment should be accompanied by updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that put us on the right track to meet the ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2 ° C per above pre-industrial levels, and ideally at 1.5ºC.

According to the United Nations Environment Program 2020 Emissions Gap Report, current NDCs will translate into global warming of more than 3 ° C. It is therefore essential that COP26 succeeds in closing the ambition gap between where we are and where we need to be.

Likewise, we must not forget the importance of climate finance, since many developing countries have conditional NDCs, the achievement of which depends on financial aid.

In this sense, it is essential to advance in the current commitment to mobilize 100 billion dollars a year from 2020, as well as, as decided at COP24, to set a more ambitious goal from 2025 onwards.

Another pressing issue is the need to resolve the outstanding issues in the Paris Agreement work program, in terms of transparency, common timetables and cooperation mechanisms under Article 6, so that, in the coming years, we can focus on continuing developing and reinforcing its implementation and application.

From an EU perspective, this year’s COP26 in Glasgow should give European leadership the opportunity to distinguish itself, showing the world that strengthening commitments under the Paris Agreement can, and must, go hand in hand. of a green global recovery.

The coronavirus crisis has taught us what humanity is capable of with a collective will and the ability to mobilize resources.

This COP26 should sow the seeds and lay the foundations for a green global recovery, accelerating the abandonment of our dependence on fossil fuels and promoting a climate program that goes hand in hand with a just and social transition.


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