Why the global climate talks are generally disappointing?
John F Canned has said you cannot negotiate with the people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable. This is the situation in the global climate negotiation talks at Conference of Parties (COPs). The climate change negotiations started in 1995 wherein head conference of parties negotiating the UN for a joint responsibility of reducing GHG omissions. While the parties generally agreed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5oC. This requires a collective action of all the countries, however these targets are generally voluntary in nature. While we introduced the Kyoto protocol to limit the emissions and we again failed, as many countries did not act to ratify the protocol in which the developed countries were to limit their emissions and emissions reductions in developing countries were considered as tradable commodity to enable financial support to the developing countries for their efforts in emission reductions.
While developing countries are pushing the agenda that the emission reduction targets should be only to the developed countries who have already exhausted their inventory of emissions, the developed countries are of the view that the emission reduction targets should be collective responsibility of developed as well as developing countries. Even there are conflicts within the developing countries, wherein China and India have conflicting agenda in terms of taking leads in climate change targets. While most of the developed countries have announced their net zero targets by 2050, India has taken a longer view of net zero by 2070, and China by 2060. While European union is pushing climate agenda of emission reduction targets, US is dragging the targets. On other hand the African countries and countries of small island are not having any economic power of negotiations and using the approach of blaming and shaming the developed countries.
In Absolute terms China contributes to about 28% of global emissions followed by US and India. In fact in COP 26 Chinese President XI Zing Ping is not attending the event, which shows a lack of commitment in taking the collective responsibility by the largest polluter.
While scientists have already warned that the climate change implications are real, some of the politicians including the previous US president consider the climate threat as hoax. However most of the countries believe that this is a real problem and there is a need to take short term and medium term targets, however most of the countries are still taking a long term view and taking long term targets shows a lack of commitment from the heads of stages. While our politicians could not reach to frame any binding mechanism for the emission reduction targets, the scientists are warning that we will cross the 1.5oC threshold by 2030, even if the countries meet their enhanced nationally determined targets. The threat of catastrophe is real and we are just waiting that the scientific predictions fail and we will be saved. If we do not act collectively to address this problem, our next generations will ask us an inconvenient question… What all you were doing when this mess was happening.. It is time for our politicians to act now..