Several small countries submitted new climate targets to the UN. Some big misses on the deadline.

The deadline for submitting new climate targets is out. The UN climate chief is not happy.

The clock is ticking, protesters in London, UK, point out. On November 1, the UN climate summit, COP26, kicks off. The protesters are calling for action from the British government.

In recent days, Patricia Espinosa has thanked on Twitter. She has thanked small countries such as Samoa, Oman, Israel and Guinea. Occasionally, some major countries have been praised: Malaysia and Indonesia.

Espinosa is the UN climate chief. What is she thanking for? Countries that have announced new and sharper climate promises for their nation. The countries had a deadline of 30 July to register these. And in the last week, she got 15 new promises in her inbox.

– Far from satisfactory

She’s still not happy. A total of 100 countries have submitted their targets. This means that just under half – 42 percent – of the world’s countries dropped it.

– It is far from satisfactory, she says in a statement.

She also believes that the ambitions must be strengthened. The measures will not be sufficient to stop the temperature rise of two degrees in this century.

The countries of the world set this as a goal in the major climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Lately, more and more people, including the US Joe Biden, have talked more about 1.5 degrees.

It is a goal Espinosa believes even less in with what the countries have agreed to so far.

– Heat waves, droughts and floods around the world are threatening warnings that much more needs to be done and much faster, she says.

Mexican Patricia Espinosa is the UN climate chief. Here with the head of the UN Climate Panel, Hoesung Lee, during the organization’s climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016.

The world’s climate change has not delivered

The deadline was set for July 30 so that the goals can be analyzed before the countries of the world meet in November. Then a climate summit will be held again. This time it takes place in Glasgow, Scotland.

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Great powers such as the United States and the European Union have recently tightened their targets. They promise to cut emissions a little faster this decade. Norway has done the same.

However, some large countries have not delivered. China, the country with the world’s largest emissions, is among them. India and South Korea have not submitted new national targets either.

– Land can of course still sharpen its ambitions, says Espinosa and opens up that new goals may be considered before the climate meeting.

The UN General Assembly’s meeting in September could be a last resort. During the climate summit, all countries are expected to present new goals.

Which questions will be important before the climate summit?

One is the goal of keeping the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. It requires two things, according to the BBC:

  • First, greenhouse gas emissions must be “net zero” by 2050. This means that at least as much CO₂ must be removed from the atmosphere as it is emitted. Technology for capturing and storing carbon can, among other things, contribute to this.
  • In addition, countries must cut their emissions significantly over the next decade.

To cope with this, phasing out coal power may be necessary. Last week, climate ministers from the G20 countries met in Naples to discuss the issue.

China and India were strongly opposed. The former accounts for over half of the world’s coal consumption. India comes in a good second place.

Alok Sharma was a disappointment, however. The British politician will lead the climate summit in November.

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– We are not able to get all the G20 countries to agree on a way to phase out coal. It is very disappointing for me and for the countries that support this goal, he told the press.

China is the world’s largest producer of coal power. The picture is from a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi Province.

On another important question, Sharma was more optimistic. It’s about climate finance.

The idea is that countries that cannot afford climate measures should receive support for it. Through the Paris Agreement, rich countries committed to contribute $ 100 billion annually from 2020.

How to ensure that this money reaches developing countries will be a key issue at the climate summit. The same goes for several goals from the Paris Agreement that have not yet been resolved properly.

This applies, among other things, to the system of climate quotas and time frames for when countries must report progress on the goals they have set.

Requires action from rich countries

Several poor countries are also very vulnerable to climate change. Ahead of the climate summit, they are asking their rich counterparts to step up.

The authorities in 100 developing countries have joined forces to demand action. Rich countries need to cut their emissions faster, they believe. In addition, poor countries must receive the financial support they need to deal with the climate crisis.

– Climate change has only gotten worse in recent years, at the same time as emissions continue to increase. It is the life and livelihood of those on the front lines who suffer, says Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi from Bhutan.

He will lead the group of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) during the climate summit.

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The meeting will take place at a time when many countries are working to get up after the corona pandemic. It is a golden opportunity, according to Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, according to The Guardian. He leads the group of African delegates.

– It is an opportunity to build us up for the better and lead the world into a better course for a safe climate, he says.