The Glasgow climate test
- World leaders will soon be put to the test at the UN Climate Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow.
- Their actions — or inactions — will show their seriousness about addressing this planetary emergency.
- The climate crisis is a code red for humanity:
- temperatures everywhere are reaching new highs;
- biodiversity is reaching new lows;
- oceans are warming, acidifying and choking with plastic waste.
- Further several reports warn that increasing temperatures will make vast stretches of our planet dead zones for humanity by this century’s end.
- Recently the Lancet had described climate change as the “defining narrative of human health” in the years to come — a crisis defined by widespread hunger, respiratory illness, deadly disasters and infectious disease outbreaks.
MORE EFFORTS ARE THE NEED OF THE HOUR
- As per the latest UN reports, governments’ actions alone are not enough to curb the upcoming climate crisis.
- New announcements for climate action are welcome and critical, but even then our world is on track for calamitous global temperature rises well above 2°C.
- This is a far cry from the 1.5°C target to which the world agreed under the Paris Agreement.
- As per science, the 1.5°C target is the only sustainable pathway for our world against global warming.
- This target is achievable if:
- we can reduce global emissions by 45% compared to 2010 levels this decade,
- we can achieve global net zero by 2050,
- world leaders arrive in Glasgow with ambitious and verifiable 2030 targets, and new, concrete policies to reverse this disaster.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
- All countries need to realise that the old, carbon-burning model of development is a death sentence for our planet.
- Decarbonisation needs to be done now, across every sector in every country and G20 leaders in particular need to lead this effort.
- There is a need to shift subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and tax pollution, not people.
- There is a need to put a price on carbon, and channel that towards resilient infrastructures and jobs. There is a need to phase-out coal by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 in all others.
- Increasing numbers of governments have pledged to stop financing coal; private finance needs to do the same, urgently.
EVERYONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY
- Though people rightly expect their governments to lead, all of us have a responsibility to safeguard our collective future.
- Hence, businesses need to reduce their climate impact, and fully and credibly align their operations and financial flows to a net zero future.
- Investors need to do the same. They should join front runners like the net zero asset owners’ alliance, and the UN’s own pension fund, which met its 2021 carbon reduction investment objectives ahead of time and above its target, with a 32% reduction this year.
- Individuals in every society need to make better, more responsible choices in what they eat, how they travel, and what they buy.
- Young people need to continue demanding action from their leaders and keeping them accountable.
- Throughout, there is a need for global solidarity to help all countries make this shift.
- Developing countries are grappling with debt and liquidity crises. Therefore, public and multilateral development banks must significantly increase their climate portfolios and intensify their efforts to help countries transition to net zero, resilient economies.
- The developed world must urgently meet its commitment of at least $100 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries.
- Donors and multilateral development banks need to allocate at least half their climate finance towards adaptation and resilience.
- Humanity today is facing an existential crisis which if not addressed, will threaten not only us, but future generations too.
- Amidst such crises a 1.5°C future is the only viable future for humanity.
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