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The pressure for the climate crisis now falls on world leaders

(CNN) – Scientists have warned for decades that we’ve been changing weather In a way that would have devastating effects on the planet and our lives. A landmark report on Monday showed that this is already happening and faster than we expected.

the the findings From the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on climate change The United Nations (IPCC) is a stark wake-up call for politicians, business leaders and policy makers, who will gather in just 12 weeks at the COP26 Climate Talks in Glasgow to confront the greatest existential challenge in human history.

For decades, global politics has lagged behind science, but leaders and big companies are now having to catch up as their audiences and clients grapple. heat wavesAnd Forest fires NS flood which prove to be costly and fatal.

“You have political pressure for science, which underscores the sense of panic and fear, and now you have science in people’s minds,” said Tom Burke, co-founder of E3G, a European climate think tank. “There are capital markets saying this is really starting to threaten the future value of our investments. So the tremendous pressure is building on the politicians.”

Amid mounting pressure, climate lawmakers are likely to face hurdles in making the November COP26 conference successful, often measured by how far conservative leaders are willing to go. Recent multilateral climate meetings between far fewer countries have ended with disappointing, sometimes even divided results.

keep the 1.5s alive

Alok Sharma, president of COP26, said he wanted the conference to agree on a number of key goals, including an end date for coal, a commitment to make all new car sales zero-emission in the next 14 to 19 years, with a moratorium on deforestation at the end of the decade and more. of reductions in methane emissions.

But his main message is to “Keep 1.5 Alive”.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, more than 190 countries have signed on to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°C, but preferably 1.5°C, a level beyond which scientists say the world will experience more severe and frequent weather events. But the meeting of G7 leaders in June and the meeting of G-20 ministers last month left some on the world stage disappointed and unsure of what could be accomplished in November.

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The G20 statement was delivered more than a day later than expected, with some countries objecting to language on when to phase out coal and on the 1.5°C pledge, according to Roberto Cingolani, Italy’s environmental transformation minister, who chaired the meeting.

Cingolani He said Reporters after the conference that India and China are resisting the coal issue.

A source familiar with the talks at the time told CNN that significant resistance came from fossil fuel-producing countries, including some developing economies.

At a press conference on Monday, Sharma denied that the 1.5-degree threshold was still divisive, referring to the statement finally approved by G20 ministers, in which countries said they would “continue their efforts” to limit 1.5 above pre-industrial. levels.

“Based on all the conversations I’ve had, I can tell you that there is a clear desire among governments to keep this degree within reach,” Sharma said.

However, China’s chief climate negotiator, Xi Jinhua, last week accused some countries of trying to change the targets from two degrees, which countries agreed to in the Paris Agreement, to 1.5 degrees.

“Some countries are pushing to rewrite the Paris Agreement,” Xie was quoted by the news agency as saying. France Press agency. “That is, they want to strive to change the goal of controlling temperature rise from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

He added: “We have to understand the different situations in different countries and strive to achieve consensus.”

And although G-20 ministers eventually agreed to language of around 1.5 degrees, some did so reluctantly. India issued its own statement along with the statement arguing for the need for developing nations to grow, urging rich nations to reduce their emissions more quickly.

Convert coal into history

Windmills in Lauterstein, Germany. Replacing coal with renewable energy will be a major topic at COP26 in Glasgow this year. (Image: Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The Group of Seven and the Group of Twenty often attempt to demonstrate leadership in areas of global politics; Together, they make up 80% of global emissions and about 85% of the global economy. But the G-20 meeting also failed to reach a concrete agreement on eliminating coal and removing fossil fuel subsidies.

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On Monday, Sharma noted that only 13 members of the G20 had pledged to abandon net zero, and only eight had made new pledges beyond previous pledges. All signatories to the Paris Agreement were supposed to make a second, more ambitious pledge by July of this year.

Sharma said the failure to reach an agreement on coal was “disappointing” and acknowledged that reaching an agreement before COP26 would be difficult. He wants the world’s richest countries to phase out coal by 2030 and the rest of the world by 2040.

Coal will be on the agenda again at the next G-20, which will be held just before the COP26 summit.

$100 billion a year for the developing world

Another sticking point for developing countries is that they have not received the money they promised to adapt Climate change.

The developed world agreed in 2009 to transfer $100 billion annually to the developing world by 2020. This commitment was reaffirmed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, but the goal was never achieved. As a result, old divisions and mistrust have resurfaced.

A zero-zero economy powered by renewables involves repairing infrastructure, employing new technologies, transitioning to electric vehicles, and rethinking jobs and entire industries. Developing nations argue that many of the world’s richest nations got rich because they were free to exploit the same fossil fuels they now want to get rid of from the rest of the world.

Withholding promised funds could mean that some countries are less likely to back down from the decarbonization phase and commit to 1.5°C.

Environment: Latin America’s worst prepared countries 1:01

What is at stake?

According to the IPCC report, at 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world is heading for average global temperatures 1.5 degrees higher than scientists thought. This threshold is likely to be exceeded in the mid-2000s, even if greenhouse gases are significantly reduced starting today.

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The good news is that we can keep it at 1.5 and prevent it from reaching 2 degrees, after which the effects of climate change will become more severe, according to the report.

“The key to focus on is that every degree of warming, every tenth of a degree warming, matters,” Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist at King’s College London and one of the authors of the new IPCC report, told CNN. “Every year it is increasingly difficult to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees because that means we have to reduce emissions faster to get to zero.”

“Emissions reductions must be immediate, rapid and widespread,” he added.

If by the 1950s the world reached net zero, where the net addition and removal of greenhouse gases is zero, it could have temperature increases of up to 1.5 degrees.

The other good news is that science shows that climate systems will respond well to decarbonization. Planting more trees, expanding carbon sinks, and possibly using technology still under development, will limit warming and its disastrous consequences.

But a lot has already been lost. Many effects climate change They are now “integrated” and impossible to reverse in the short term, as ice cover and melting glaciers will lead to sea level rise.

How responsible is Latin America for climate change? 1:05

The question now is whether leaders will face the moment and avoid a level of warmth that will lead to disaster. It is also a question of whether politicians will learn from the mistakes of the past.

“They have been telling us for more than three decades about the dangers of allowing the planet to warm,” UN Environment Executive Director Inger Andersen told scientists Monday after the IPCC report was published.

“The world heard, but it did not listen. The world heard, but it did not act forcefully enough. As a result, the climate change It is a problem that is here now. Nobody is safe and it’s getting worse faster.”