Glasgow – Before the tricky negotiations on more climate protection really begin, things will first be celebratory: The UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, will start its second day on Monday with speeches by dozens of heads of state and government.
At lunchtime, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the British heir to the throne, Prince Charles, address the plenary session. The outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also made a short statement on behalf of Germany in the afternoon.
Three minutes of speaking time per head of state
The Presidents of the USA and France, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, were also announced in Glasgow for three-minute contributions each. Also on the list of speakers are the presidents of Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Indonesia and the leaders of the EU. There are also the heads of government of Canada, Italy, Australia, India and Pakistan as well as several other top politicians from all over the world.
At the invitation of the United Nations, government representatives from around 200 countries spent two weeks in Glasgow discussing how humanity can still contain accelerated global warming to a tolerable level. A damper came on Sunday from the G20 summit in Rome: the major economic powers failed to send a strong signal to Glasgow for more climate protection. UN Secretary General Guterres expressed his disappointment: “I am leaving Rome with unfulfilled hopes – but at least they are not buried,” he wrote on Twitter. Now it is in Glasgow to “keep the 1.5-degree target alive”.
G20 under fire
Environmental groups had recently also criticized the fact that many states, and especially the G20, have not sufficiently tightened their plans for climate protection since the last UN conference in 2019 and delayed the necessary phase-out of coal, oil and gas.
The earth has already warmed up by around 1.1 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels; in Germany it is already 1.6 degrees. In Paris, six years ago, the international community agreed to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees, preferably 1.5 degrees. So far, the plans submitted by the states are nowhere near enough.
Johnson makes climate finance dependent on economic growth
Other important topics in Glasgow are trade between countries that have made progress in climate protection and the financing of damage and losses caused by global warming, especially in poorer countries. The British host Johnson announced further spending on climate finance at the start of the COP, but made this dependent on the country’s economy growing as expected. He called on his colleagues to be more ambitious. “If we don’t seriously fight climate change now, it will be too late for our children to do it tomorrow,” he said.
The acting Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told the “Rheinische Post” (Monday) that Germany is coming to Glasgow with a strong climate target. “We will be climate neutral in 2045, five years earlier than the EU.” The German delegation is therefore able to build bridges between individual camps.
UN chief climate officer: greenhouse gases «investing in our own extinction»
At the start of the conference on Sunday, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa had warned that continuing as we did with the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases would be tantamount to “investing in our own extinction”. And the UK President of COP26, Alok Sharma, said the window on achieving the 1.5-degree target was closing. Glasgow must keep what Paris has promised. “This international conference has to deliver.”
Among the 25,000 or so people expected in Glasgow are numerous activists who want to protest on the streets for a more ambitious climate policy – including the world’s most prominent activist, 18-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211101-99-814148 / 2