More than 120 world leaders met together on Monday in the Scottish city of Glasgow for a summit that represents the “last and best hope” for dealing with the climate crisis and averting imminent catastrophe.
On Sunday, the group’s largest economies expressed their commitment to limiting climate warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and agreed to stop financing new coal-fired plants around the world by the end of 2021.
The Glasgow conference, which continues till November 12, is taking place at a time when severe weather conditions throughout the world are reflecting the terrible impacts of climate change produced by the usage of fossil fuels over 150 years.
According to the UN, even if the signatories to the Paris climate accord followed their present obligations, it would result in a “catastrophic warming” of 2.7 degrees Celsius.
Climate activists, on the other hand, voiced their “disappointment” with the statement made at the end of the G-20 conference.
China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, recently presented its new climate plan to the UN, reiterating its long-standing goal of bottoming out emissions by 2030 whereas India is currently in the spotlight.
Alden Meyer of the Center for Climate Energy Research (E3G) said that India “has not yet disclosed its new nationally determined contribution”, but if its Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces new efforts to reduce emissions in his speech on Monday, it will intensify pressure on China and others.
The other pressing issue is the failure of rich countries to allocate $100 billion annually, starting in 2020, to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt, based on a pledge first issued in 2009.
This target was pushed back to 2023 to avoid escalating the trust crisis between the North, which is to blame for global warming, and the Global South, which is suffering the consequences.
While the Chinese and Russian presidents are unlikely to attend in person, dozens of heads of state and government will gather in Glasgow, including US Vice President Joe Biden, European Union.