| 20 May 2024, Monday |

New Promises at Glasgow Climate Talks

Here are some of the pledges delivered so far this week at the U.N. climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland:



More than 100 global leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, a promise underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.


The joint statement was backed by leaders of countries including Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia, which collectively account for 85% of the world’s forests.


Forests absorb roughly 30% of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the nonprofit World Resources Institute.


However, forest degradation and loss has been aggravated by fires that in some places are being fueled by the conditions of climate change.


Those seeking to conserve forests also have to deal with the massive commercial incentives to fell trees.


Under the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, illegal loggers have become emboldened in the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.


Indigenous people from the region have sent 40 envoys to the COP26 talks to highlight the need to protect their territories.



About 100 countries have joined an effort led by the United States and the European Union to cut emissions of the climate-warming gas methane by 30% by 2030, compared with 2020 levels.


Methane has a shorter life in the atmosphere than the biggest greenhouse gas CO2, but has around 80 times more planet-warming potency. That means quickly reducing methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry and agriculture could have a big impact in the short term.


But big methane emitters Russia, China and India have not yet signed up, while Australia has rejected the idea of joining.


Net-zero emissions goal

COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to avert the most dire climate change impacts.


So far, the world is far off track. A UN report released days before the Glasgow talks said current pledges to cut climate-warming emissions put the planet on course for a 2.7C temperature rise this century.


Scientists say the world must halve emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero by 2050, to avert the worst impacts of global warming.


India’s prime minister on Monday said the country, one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, after China and the United States, aimed to reach net zero by 2070.



One of the biggest sticking points at the UN talks is around finance, with rich nations having failed to meet a 2020 deadline to deliver $100 billion a year in funds to help developing nations both transition away from fossil fuels and prepare for climate impacts.


The pledge stems from global acknowledgement that developed nations have contributed most emissions to the atmosphere, and so bear more responsibility for reversing course.


Last week, the British COP president, Alok Sharma, said the goal would be met only in 2023. But on Tuesday, US climate envoy John Kerry suggested 2022 could be an option.


Also on Tuesday, Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said his country would kick in up to $10 billion over five years.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat