It’s time for more than 130 international leaders to get a taste of their own medicine.
They’ll take the stage at key international climate talks in Scotland on Monday and Tuesday to discuss what their country will do about the threat of global warming. From US Vice President Joe Biden to Seychelles President Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan, leaders from around the world are scheduled to speak about how their countries will do all possible, urge colleagues to do more, and generally raise the stakes.
According to incomplete statements published by his office late Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was slated to declare during Monday’s inaugural session, “Humanity has long ago ran down the clock on climate change.” “It’s one minute to midnight, and we must act immediately.”
On Monday, the biggest names will take the stage, including Biden, Johnson, India’s Narendra Modi, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Ibrahim Solih, the president of the hard-hit Maldives.
The leaders will then depart.
The plan is for them to undertake the major political bargaining, laying out the broad strokes of a deal, and then have other government officials iron out the annoying but vital details. Former United Nations Climate Secretary Christiana Figueres told The Associated Press that this is what made the landmark 2015 Paris climate pact a success.
“It is actually a far better use of their strategic thinking for heads of state,” Figueres added.
According to Figueres, the two hallmark goals in Paris were set via this leaders-first process: limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The leaders rushed in at the close of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, which was a flop.
Thousands of people queued in a brisk wind in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday to get through a bottleneck at the venue’s entrance. What will stand out, though, are a few notable exclusions from the COP26 meeting.
Neither Xi Jinping, the president of China, nor Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, will be in Glasgow. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also chosen not to come to Glasgow, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency, which did not give a rationale for his decision.
Although Biden chastised China over the weekend, Figueres said the Chinese leader’s absence isn’t a major concern because he won’t be leaving the nation during the epidemic and his climate envoy is a seasoned negotiator.
Several tiny Pacific island governments, for example, were unable to participate because to COVID-19 logistics and constraints. This is a major issue since their voices convey urgency, according to Figueres.
Kevin Conrad, a Papua New Guinea negotiator who also leads the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, said he’s keeping an eye on the major carbon polluters. “As the two major polluters, I believe it is critical for the United States and China to demonstrate leadership.” “I believe they provide hope to the rest of the world if both of them can demonstrate that it can be done,” he remarked.
According to scientists, the prospects of fulfilling the objective of keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius this century are dwindling. The globe has already warmed by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius, with current forecasts based on expected emissions reductions over the next decade putting the temperature at 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
According to scientists, the amount of energy released by such warming would melt most of the planet’s ice, raise global sea levels, and increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather.
However, ahead of the United Nations climate conference, the chiefs of the world’s top economies gave vague climate promises rather than clear action commitments, stating they would pursue carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century” at the conclusion of their Group of 20 summit in Rome. The G-20 countries also agreed to stop providing public funding for coal-fired power generation in other countries, but did not set a deadline for phasing out coal in their own countries, a clear hint to China and India.
The G-20 nations account for more than three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions, and summit host Italy, as well as the United Kingdom, which is hosting the Glasgow conference, had hoped for more aggressive plans to emerge from Rome.
India, the world’s third-largest emitter, has yet to declare a target for obtaining “net zero” emissions, like China, the United States, and the European Union. Modi is expected to outline such a goal in Glasgow, according to negotiators.
The Biden administration has worked hard to minimize hopes that the two-week climate negotiations will result in big progress on reducing climate-damaging emissions.
Rather than a speedy remedy, Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, told reporters on Sunday that “Glasgow marks the beginning of this decade race, if you will.”