COP26, Day 9: “We have not done enough,” Obama says and charges against Russia and China

Former US President Barack Obama urged global pressure on governments on November 8 to comply with their commitments to stop global warming, within the framework of the United Nations climate summit, COP26. The popular ex-president pointed to Russia and China, two of the main polluters along with the US, which he accused of ignoring calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are not even close to where we should be,” declared former US President Barack Obama during his speech at the United Nations climate summit, COP26, on November 8.

Obama, whose government was one of the main promoters of the 2015 Paris Agreement that marked the guidelines that are being discussed today at COP26, pointed out that there has been some progress since then, but regretted that Russia and China, with which he joined forces to achieve the historic pact, they have distanced themselves from the goal.

“It is particularly disheartening to see that the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters – of polluting gases – have declined their attendance at this conference (…) And their national plans reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and that is regrettable.” , affirmed the ex-president.

Obama called on the powers to take responsibility, jThis is at a time when the high environmental and economic costs borne by poor countries, in many cases the least polluting, are being discussed.

Proof of this is that the G20 nations that represent 80% of the world economy are in turn the largest generators of polluting emissions. These include China, the United States, Australia, Russia and Japan.

“We all have a role to play. We all have work to do. We all have sacrifices to make on the climate (…) But those of us who live in rich nations, those of us who help to precipitate the problem, have an additional burden, “stressed the also winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Paris was only the beginning and not a point of arrival”

The Paris Agreement established limiting global warming so that it does not increase more than 2ºC in this century and, if possible, that it does not exceed 1.5ºC. The limit that scientists highlight to avoid greater climatic catastrophes such as those that different nations face harshly.

How to achieve it has again been the center of the discussion at this summit from which some commitments have emerged: eliminate the use and production of coal for the next three decades; reduce deforestation; curb methane and eliminate funding for overseas fossil fuel projects.

But of its scope, UN experts are skeptical. According to research, the actions taken to date will lead to a warming of at least 2.7% compared to pre-industrial levels.

“Paris was only the beginning and not a point of arrival (…) There we created a framework that has allowed us to advance these six years, but we have not done enough. Achieving a maximum increase in temperatures of 1.5 degrees goes to take a lot of work. Getting people to work together on a global scale takes time, but Time is what we do not have and only by pressing for more is we going to achieve the partial victories that we need, “Obama stressed.

The former US president also acknowledged that his own country fell back on the objectives, highlighting the withdrawal of the United States from the environmental pact by former President Donald Trump. However, he indicated that with Joe Biden in the White House, “the United States has returned” to lead the effort.

Obama was confident in the approval in Congress of a budget package that includes 555,000 million dollars to finance the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in his nation. “It will put the United States on the right track to meet its new climate goals,” he said.

“Anyone who has seen our special climate envoy John Kerry run around these days can tell that we are taking it seriously. The infrastructure plan promoted by President Biden also sends a powerful signal to the world: the United States must lead by example, “he stressed.

COP26 talks delve into financing the climate crisis

Obama’s remarks come in the middle of a day in which governments discussed an agreement to help vulnerable countries deal with global warming and compensate them for the damage already caused. A test that will show whether rich and developing nations can end a years-long confrontation over costs to mitigate climate change.

The cost is enormous. Losses and damages are estimated for 2030 between 400 billion and 580 billion a year in poor countries, and up to 1.8 billion by 2050, according to the Heinrich Boll Foundation, which cited academic studies.

The numbers will be even higher unless talks in Glasgow can keep alive the possibility of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

As developing nations seek more money to adapt to higher temperatures that have caused more frequent droughts, floods and wildfires, powers have focused on funneling finances toward reducing CO2 emissions.

“The declaration juxtaposes the COP26 scenario with the real-life situations facing Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels,” said Foreign Minister Simon Kofe, who explained how the increase sea ​​level affects your small island nation.

The UK, host of the meeting, tried to set the pace for the negotiations by announcing $ 391 million in new funding, including support for Asia Pacific countries to cope with the impact of the environmental crisis.

“We must act now to prevent climate change from pushing more people into poverty. We know that climate impacts disproportionately affect those who are already most vulnerable, ”said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, appointed by the British Government to lead adaptation and resilience plans.

According to the official, this money is in addition to the “billions in international funds” already committed by countries such as Denmark, Japan and the United States for vulnerable nations, many of which have experienced the worst effects.

There is less than a week left until the leaders of 190 countries conclude COP26, but beyond the commitments they must demonstrate that they can meet the objectives that at least prevent the worsening of climate change before there is no going back.

With Reuters, AP and local media

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COP26, Day 9: “We have not done enough,” Obama says and charges against Russia and China

Hank Gilbert