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World NewsWhy Glasgow is drawing parallels to Copenhagen

Why Glasgow is drawing parallels to Copenhagen

Delegates arrive to shiny sunshine on Energy Day on the COP26 local weather summit on the SEC on November 04, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland — U.N.-brokered local weather talks in Scotland’s largest metropolis have been in contrast to a summit held in Copenhagen over a decade in the past that resulted in disarray. It is a bleak early evaluation of probably the most vital diplomatic conferences in historical past.

World leaders and delegates representing nearly each nation have convened in Glasgow, U.Okay., for talks geared toward bringing local weather change below management.

Less than every week into the assembly, often called COP26, and the temper is combined. There have been constructive developments, corresponding to pledges to finish and reverse deforestation, a deal to lower methane emission ranges by 30% by 2030 and new commitments to section out coal energy.

Ultimately, nevertheless, the success of the summit can be judged on whether or not international locations and firms can maintain the 1.5 levels Celsius objective alive. This critically vital temperature threshold refers to the aspirational goal of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

Experts say it is troublesome to see how COP26 can steer the world towards 1.5 levels Celsius.

Crossovers between COP15 and COP26?

Asad Rehman, a spokesperson for the COP26 coalition, a U.Okay.-based civil society that represents indigenous communities, frontline activists and grassroots campaigns from the worldwide south, informed CNBC that he had been struck by the comparisons between the assembly in Glasgow and former talks in Copenhagen.

The 2009 summit in Denmark’s capital metropolis is extensively thought to be a failure, with a deal many international locations criticized for falling in need of the motion wanted to deal with the local weather disaster.

“There are, of course, already parallels in that it is a cold, wet northern European city,” Rehman stated. “But there are also the more important comparisons.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) negotiates with president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso (L), Sweden’s prime minister and standing president of the European Council, Fredrik Reinfeldt, (R), French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown through the remaining night time of the UN Climate Change Summit on December 18, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Steffen Kugler | Getty Images News | Getty Images

As with COP26 in Glasgow, Rehman stated talks in Copenhagen had been billed as humanity’s final and greatest likelihood to forestall the worst of what the local weather disaster had in retailer. Both summits had been “hugely expensive” for the worldwide south, he added, with an absence of inexpensive lodging and civil society teams “locked out” of negotiations.

The U.Okay. COP26 presidency had pledged to make the Glasgow summit “the most inclusive COP ever” and rejected calls from campaigners for the occasion to be postponed again. Instead, the U.Okay. authorities stated they might implement extra measures to alleviate issues about security and inclusivity on the occasion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rehman famous the conferences in each Copenhagen and Glasgow had been preceded by a change in U.S. management by which the newly elected president introduced America was “back at the table” to lead on local weather. There had been similarities too, he stated, in how former President Barack Obama steered the U.S. again into the Kyoto Protocol and President Joe Biden introduced the nation again into the landmark Paris Agreement.

At COP15 in 2009, when talks had been centered on limiting international heating to 2 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges, the chair of the G-77 group of growing nations rejected the proposals put ahead by high-income nations, likening the phrases to a “suicide pact.”

In 2021, policymakers and environmental activists representing folks most threatened by local weather change issued a rallying cry for the world not to compromise on 1.5 levels Celsius, warning that surpassing this degree was akin to “a death sentence” for a lot of international locations.

It was in Denmark 12 years in the past that high-income international locations pledged to present $100 billion a 12 months to low-income international locations by 2020, a promise that continues to be unfulfilled in Glasgow. What’s extra, Rehman stated each COPs came about after financial crises by which wealthy international locations “poured trillions into saving their economies,” referring to the 2008 monetary disaster and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just find it a really uncanny moment in terms of the politics, the organizational ineptitude and, of course, the context in which it takes place,” Rehman stated. One key distinction between COP15 and COP26, he added, was {that a} new technology of local weather justice actions within the international north now had far more understanding of the systemic causes of the disaster. “It is a deeper awareness of the kind of demands that are needed,” he stated.

‘One very vital parallel’

Jason Hickel, an financial anthropologist and visiting senior fellow on the London School of Economics, informed CNBC that he might additionally see the similarities between the Glasgow and Copenhagen COPs.

“To me, this is really problematic,” Hickel stated, noting the sense of frustration amongst campaigners that the Glasgow summit has been notably exclusionary.

“I think that we have to have caution with any excitement about what leaders are saying on stage at this COP because its easy to say things. As far as I’m concerned, if they were serious then they would make sure that they have their critics in these spaces to challenge and hold them accountable – and I don’t see that happening,” Hickel stated.

“These COPs have become like PR spin games,” he added.

Not everybody is of the opinion that the Glasgow summit poses a hanging resemblance to the Copenhagen assembly, and a few have expressed optimism concerning the local weather discussions.

“I see one parallel, one very significant parallel, which is really serious, and that is the same bad quality of coffee — but that’s the only one,” stated Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of many world’s most influential Earth scientists.

A lesson from the failure at Copenhagen, Rockstrom stated, was for host international locations to be sure that they supply a cushty setting to delegations from world wide. “I feel Glasgow has not really taken that on seriously enough,” he stated.

“The rest I totally disagree with … In Copenhagen, it was perceived as a big environmental problem that needed to be solved. Period.”

“What made us succeed in Paris was that it was no longer an environmental problem that needed to be solved, it was a major systemic challenge for the world economy, meaning that businesses were there, and cities were there to play ball,” he continued. “And then you come to Glasgow and we are even further down that line. Now we are so far down that line that I can assure you the discussions here in Glasgow are not whether we have a problem, it is not whether or not we will solve this problem, it is whether or not we will go fast enough.”

“The question is now is well beyond the discussions in Copenhagen … and so I see very few analogies to go on,” Rockstrom stated.

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Patricia Espinosa, the chief secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, informed CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Thursday that she had been “really encouraged” by the progress made in Glasgow to date.

“Of course, we’re coming to this conference with the clear message that the numbers we have in terms of emissions are not good,” Espinosa stated. “So, that means that we really must come out of here with clarity on how we are going to move forward.”

Speaking to CNBC earlier this week, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin stated he was upbeat on the progress made in Glasgow to date. “I think there’s a real strong sense of momentum here in relation to the whole agenda around climate change,” Martin informed CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Tuesday.

“With the major commitments made by individual countries but also collectively, the tone was very strong yesterday at the opening,” he stated. Nonetheless, Martin stated there would want to be extra progress made within the area of local weather finance. “[We need to see] concrete reality to the pledges around finance,” he stated.


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