The World Summit of Heads of State and Government kicked off the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (AKA: COP26) 2 days ago.
Once again, 197 UN countries (out of a total of 256 countries in the world) have set the same targets as the Paris Agreement of 2015 and the Madrid Agreement of 2017.
This summit declares that the international community should focus on the main key areas:
1. mobilizing public funds
2. cooperation with the private sector
3. carbon pricing
4. coherence of economic policies.
At the COP26 summit, Parties reviewed progress in meeting their commitments towards the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and continuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
That sounds great, doesn't it? NO, it does not!
Looking back at past summits suggests that nothing will change this time either. In fact, the state of global pollution and greenhouse gas emissions has never been this bad since the 2015 climate summit :(
The main problem is still the three countries with the highest pollution, led by China, which is responsible for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions, India, which causes 7% of them, and Russia with 5%. India (the third most polluting country in the world) has already announced that it will meet some of these targets by 2050, but full compliance will not be achieved until 2070. China and Russia have yet to comment on the summit, so it's probably safe to assume that it's business as usual for them.
The rest of the world, responsible for 21% of the pollution, is not part of the EU/UN and does not recognize any conclusions from the climate agreements. So, 61% of the world is not participating at all in the global effort to slow global warming (!!!)
Where do we go from here? What can we do to make a difference? Here are some ideas:
1. public pressure on policymakers in polluting governments and corporations. We all need to take to the streets and make sure the issue stays on the agenda.
2. creating an action plan for the most polluting countries - we need to consider China, India and Russia, all of which are undergoing a rapid urbanization process that is necessary for the well-being of their populations and which we cannot (and should not) stop. But we need to think about how to do this in a sustainable way (yes, the conference agreed to raise funds to help, but nowhere was an orderly plan put in place to make anything happen).
3. educate and promote personal responsibility - each of us can consume fewer products that pollute the environment - from the animal feed industry and the use of transportation to the use of products and processes that pollute sewage, air and soil.
4. at the local level in each country - strict regulations and the imposition of responsibility on commercial companies whose production processes identify the world - air, water and soil belong to all of us, and those who pollute must pay and repair the production pathways as soon as possible.
5. encouraging global investment in technologies and start-ups that solve global problems and challenges in the areas of climate, food and water.
What do you think of the summit? What else can we change? I would love to hear more ideas, drop me a line in the comments :)
In the graph: Each country's share of CO2 emissions. Guess who skipped the party?