The COP26 conference in Glasgow - a success for Romania, from day one

Ian Deacon
English Section / 16 noiembrie

The COP26 conference in Glasgow - a success for Romania, from day one
Ian Deacon

This is the penultimate article in the series relating to the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

What are the bases for measuring the success or failure of the conference ? The protestors view is that the conference is just another week of pointless discussion , in the words of Greta Thunberg the best known of all the climate activists "Blah,blah,blah"

However, it already succeeded in some very important aspects:

Raising awareness of the crisis to a global level

Agreement to stop deforestation throughout the world, trees absorb carbon missions.

Commitment to mark the market in carbon permits work through better pricing and transfer of monies from richer countries to developing nations.

Agreement on all major aspects of the commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

Success can only be known between now and 2030 and based on whether the participants in COP26 take urgent action and implement the agreements made at this conference or by separate bilateral arrangements such as the one between China and U.S.A. announced yesterday.

From a Romanian point of view the conference was a success from the first day. The U.S.A. through Joe Biden agreed to joint venture to build a modular nuclear reactor using new technology in a strategic part of Romania. The reactor will be built by NuScale Power and will create, in the short term, 6,000 U.S.A. and Romanian jobs and as the project grows it will create a total of 30,000 jobs . Nuclear power currently provides 20 per cent of domestic energy.

As negotiators brace to go into extra time, running low on sleep and Covid testing kits, here are the things to watch if you're just tuning in:

Climate action plans

The mantra of this COP is "keeping 1.5 degrees alive." That means limiting temperature increases from pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which equates to a much less catastrophic outcome for the planet than the 2.7 degrees scientists say we're now on track for.

One of the key demands from nations most exposed to climate change was that countries with action plans that aren't robust enough should be told to go away and have another go. They wanted new plans by next year, and the U.K. presidency plus the U.S. have backed that demand. An early draft of the COP agreement does indeed call for countries to come back by the end of next year with tougher plans. But will those lines survive the final arduous phase of talks?

Cash

At the heart of this summit is the issue of fairness. Developing nations say rich countries wrecked the planet as they industrialized, and it's now unfair they're thwarting others' economic progress - and failing to provide enough cash to help poorer countries adjust That's why there's so much talk about how much money will be on the table. Rich countries failed to meet a target of providing $100 billion a year by 2020 and now say that will happen in 2023.

The focus now turns to what happens next. Some big numbers are being kicked around: India says it wants $1 trillion of international public funding just for itself. Another bloc representing African nations says they need at least $750 billion, and the demands go as high as $1.3 trillion. A key thing to watch is the split between grants and loans, and public and private funds. The last thing poor nations need is more debt; and private funds come with high interest rates. Also at issue is how much is put into adaptation versus mitigation efforts.

Carbon markets

The Paris Agreement of 2015 left some unfinished business that negotiators still haven't been able to tie up: how to standardize rules on trading carbon credits, or offsets. A deal on global carbon trading would be a big win as it would help cut emissions, spur investment in clean technology and funnel money to poorer countries. But there's a warning here: negotiators say no deal is better than a bad deal. That's because an agreement that doesn't impose strict rules could end up increasing emissions, and allow for creative accounting whereby the impact of offsets would be counted twice.

The term to watch is Article Six. There had been some progress going into COP26, though in recent days talks have stumbled again and a deal is in the balance. The main issue now is how much money will be siphoned off from carbon trading to help poor countries adapt to the ravages of climate change. A kind of transaction tax is on the table.

CHINA SIGNALS IT WILL NOT SUPPORT A PHASE OUT OF COAL

U.N. CONVENES GROUP TO POLICE NET-ZERO GOALS

GREENPEACE SLAMS U.S.A. FOR BLOCKING PROGRESS

E.U. NATIONS OPPOSE GREEN LABEL FOR NUCLEAR POWER

CLIMATE FINANCE REMAINS A BIG PROBLEM

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