After the forced stoppage by the pandemic, the UN climate negotiations resumed this Monday with a new impulse championed by the United States and six months after COP26, a decisive appointment to act against warming.
Until June 17, some 200 countries will hold videoconference meetings for three hours a day. Normally, these preparatory negotiations for the UN Climate Conferences (COP) take place in June in Bonn (Germany).
“We are meeting at a time of global crisis, of unprecedented magnitude,” said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, opening the negotiations.
The Joe Biden presidency relaunched the international political process against climate change, after Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement during his tenure, hampering efforts undertaken in recent years. Thus, the COP25 in Madrid in 2019 had ended in failure.
Biden organized a telematics summit in April, which encouraged large emitting countries to strengthen their climate commitments, starting with the United States, which doubled its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Japan, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom also stepped forward. Even Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promised carbon neutrality by 2050 and the elimination of illegal logging by 2030, although the devastation of the Amazon increased dramatically during his tenure.
Also the G7 summit scheduled for June 11-13 in Cornwall (UK) is set to make climate change a central issue, after its Member States recently pledged to end public aid to coal plants, very polluting.
This renewed mobilization is essential to respond to the climate emergency, according to scientists.
As disasters multiply, the world has just experienced its warmest decade ever recorded and the chances of reaching the goal of limiting warming to 2 ° C and, if possible, 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era are shrinking every time more.
For this reason, COP26 in Glasgow (United Kingdom), which will be held in November, a year later than planned due to the pandemic, is considered crucial.
– Issues to be resolved –
“Our current trajectory does not align with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Espinosa recalled. “It is time to do our work.”
But many key issues remain on the negotiating table, from the functioning of carbon market mechanisms to transparency rules.
The international community must also finalize the plans for adaptation to the consequences of climate change and specify the commitment of developed countries to finance the climate policies of poor countries with about $ 100 billion annually.
And while some countries have already reviewed their emission reduction commitments, the so-called NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), as foreseen by the Paris Agreement for 2020, some have not yet done so.
All of this will be addressed until June 17 by the “permanent subsidiary bodies” of the UN Convention on Climate Change through videoconferences.
It is not an “ideal format, but it is unavoidable”, according to Marianne Karlsen of Norway, president of the SBI group, one of the subsidiary bodies.
Due to the absence of negotiations for 18 months, “we have accumulated a lot of work” so it is necessary to move forward “if we want to reach an agreement in Glasgow”, according to Karlsen.
The meetings will not lead to decisions but negotiators are confident that they will lay the groundwork for “making them when we meet in person” during COP26, according to Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, chair of the subsidiary group SBSTA.
“It is important to send a clear message to the rest of the world: we are determined to implement the Paris Agreement and solve this climate puzzle,” adds this Congolese diplomat.