UN climate talks must boost emissions cuts, finance targets —negotiators

“We need to take stock in Glasgow on how we are going to ramp up political ambition over the next few years.” – Peter Betts

Current countries’ plans to keep the average global temperature rise to 1.5 C are falling well short of their goal.

Reuters – The next round of international climate talks this year must focus on getting more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions cuts and boosting finance for vulnerable nations, climate negotiators said June 24.

Britain will host the next United Nations’ climate conference, called COP26, in November in Glasgow, Scotland. It aims to spur more ambitious commitments by countries to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and keep the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, which was agreed under the Paris Agreement in 2015.

COP26 was postponed last year due to the coronavirus crisis. This year will mark the first time nations will review their climate targets and try to strengthen them.

But current countries’ plans put the world on track for a 2.4 C average temperature rise by the end of the century, according to analysis by Climate Action Tracker.

“Collectively, we are only 12 to 14 per cent of the way towards the 1.5 C goal by 2030,” based on countries’ current emissions targets, Peter Betts, associate fellow at Chatham House and former UK and EU lead climate negotiator, told the annual Chatham House climate conference.

“We need to take stock in Glasgow on how we are going to ramp up political ambition over the next few years,” he added.

Nick Bridge, the UK government’s special representative for climate change, said the country is pushing hard for all nations to come forward by next month with more ambitious commitments.

“We will not be able to solve the whole thing in Glasgow but we need to take concrete and convincing action collectively,” he added.

Developed countries also agreed in 2009 to together contribute $100 billion each year by 2020 in climate finance to poorer countries, many of whom are grappling with rising sea levels, storms and droughts made worse by climate change.

That target has not been met and must be delivered, negotiators for the least developed countries said.

Earlier this month, G7 leaders promised to raise their contributions to meet that goal but only two nations — Canada and Germany — offered firm promises of more cash.

More finance is needed from the United States which is starting from a low base and also from Italy which has not made a commitment towards the $100 billion, Betts said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Paris Agreement and refused to deliver two-thirds of a $3-billion pledge made by his predecessor Barack Obama but green groups have called on current President Joe Biden to commit at least US$8 billion.

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