Final declaration of Glasgow COP26 is an inadequate response to present challenge

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By: Dr. Soma Marla

The just ended climate summit COP26 has largely disappointed the people around the world as there was hardly any attempt to take bold steps to avert rapid global warming. Despite the urgency to halt catastrophic climate change, the pact that was approved at the end of the summit contained compromise and permitted the continued use of coal in coming decades instead of phasing it out along with other fossil fuels. The ambitious initial climate draft seeking commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and phase out fossil fuel use was watered down at the behest of powerful corporate oil and coal lobby.

Key responsibility of the Cop26 presidency is to mobilize strong commitments from various nations to cut gas emissions to match the measured temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. This means Cop26 should bind the nations to legal mechanisms and make them accountable for the global emissions to fall down by 2030; at least 45 percent from COP26 Disappoints the Planet 2010 levels, thus slowing down the process of the global warming. Instead of cutting gas emissions along with the use of fossil fuel by 2030, developed nations evaded this responsibility by making ambitious pledges to meet zero carbon neutrality.

It is obvious that without meeting the goals set in the first meeting it would be impossible to attain the Zero neutrality targets. To arrest the rising temperatures the use of major sources of emission – coal and fossil fuels must be cut and phased out. It should be noted that the presence of at least 503 representatives from coal, gas and oil companies acting vocally to dilute climate agenda to protect the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies means that with continued high levels of gas emissions we may not be reaching the ambitiously announced Zero neutrality goals pledged by various nations. The lack of commitment in the adopted final COP26 summit pact has hugely disappointed developing nations including several small island nations and people across the world.

Outside the COP26 summit venue on November 6, large number of people marched through the streets of Glasgow, including young climate activist like Greta Thunberg demanding cutting of gas emissions to save the planet. On November 9, in another demonstration nearly 10,000 young communist league members marched on the streets of Glasgow and demanded ban on fossil fuels and halt global warming. In short, the developed nations walked away without acknowledging historical emission responsibilities with a free license for their coal and oil business corporations continue to earn huge profits.

The watered down summit pact became possible hours before the announcement made after India refused to phase out coal. It is strongly believed that last minute intervention of India in diluting the final climate plan had been due to the pressure from USA to protect the oil and coal western corporations. In short India has sacrificed the interests of nearly 170 developing nations and became a pawn in hands of Western corporations to serve their business interests. It’s now clear that the bold announcement made a few days back by Prime minister Modi on Zero carbon neutrality by 2070 appears to be a simple shield to protect the business interests of Indian and global oil corporations. It should be noted that Indian coal and oil corporations belonging to Adani and Ambani are also chief beneficiaries from announced dilution of COP26 final pact. Ironically absent are accountable mandatory responsibilities of developed nations to immediately provide Global Climate fund and needed technology to rescue climate vulnerable nations.

In short the historically responsible rich nations walked away without pledging immediate emission cuts and with a license to continue with fossil energy business as usual. COP3=26 largely failed to provide a semblance of “progress” in resolving the global climate emergency without yielding any concrete outcomes. (IPA Service)

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