Politics 3 issues to watch at climate summit
Biden sees American credibility on the line as he races to lock down climate action ahead of Glasgow
President Joe Biden wanted the stakes to be perfectly clear when he sat down with nine liberal Democrats in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss ongoing legislative negotiations. © Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders at the East Room of the White House April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030.
Global leaders attending the United Nations climate summit beginning Sunday face a number of key issues as they seek ways to preserve the planet's future.
At the conference in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26, they'll work on the next steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
These three key issue areas are expected to be on the agenda.
Financing climate mitigation
Climate finance is likely to be a contentious issue as developed nations are falling short of their pledge to send $100 billion per year to poorer countries to help them prepare for climate change. Experts say that while rich countries have been historically responsible for most of the world's pollution, developing countries are bearing the brunt of its impacts.
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“It’s been definitely more challenging from the outset than any other COP”But the hope already seems to be fading among politicians and campaigners, with a week still to go before delegates step foot inside Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus. Political obstacles to success at the conference are mounting. Many world leaders of major emitters are declining to attend. Developing countries face major costs and barriers to participate. The U.K.’s COVID-19 transmission rates are near an all-time high.
A group of developed countries in 2009 set that financing goal to begin in 2020 - but a new report this week indicated that they won't meet it until 2023.
Some observers are hopeful this could be expedited.
"We're hoping that what we hear at COP might move that into 2022," said Kelley Kizzier, a former European Union climate negotiator.
Meanwhile, Maria Laura Rojas Vallejo, a former climate adviser in Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters this week that there's a "distrust" between nations on climate finance.
"The COP will be coming with a sense of distrust and tension, especially around finance," Rojas said, adding that the delivery of the $100 billion would be a key issue.
Kizzier, who now works at the Environmental Defense Fund, said that while this could be a push for government funding, there could also be pressure for private company financing.
US, China, Russia join Asia summit amid regional disputes
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — President Joe Biden and China’s Premier Li Keqiang will join an annual summit of 18 Asia-Pacific nations by video Wednesday in a region where the world powers have dueled over trade, Taiwan, democracy, human rights and Beijing’s increasingly assertive actions in disputed territories. Russian President Vladimir Putin will also speak at the East Asia Summit, a wide-ranging forum on political, security and economic issues organized by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
"What we're going to see in all of these initiatives that are launched to the climate action agenda is also that private sector finance," she said. "I think there will be a massive focus on finance and that will include both the amount of public sector finance that's mobilized and the amount of private sector finance that's mobilized."
In recent months, the international community has shown momentum on reducing its emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.
The U.S. and European Union are leading a global methane pledge, which seeks to reduce global methane pollution by at least 30 percent by 2030 and which more than 30 countries have signed.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry recently said individual countries that agree to the pledge wouldn't be required to reduce each of their emissions by 30 percent, saying instead that "every country will do what it can in order to be able to reduce methane emissions."
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate Fight
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate FightAs tourists on the other side of the patio snap photos of Mount Vesuvius looming in the background, Kerry is warning about the fate of human life on earth. Kerry, 77, has been on the public stage for decades as a Senator, presidential candidate and U.S. Secretary of State and, on paper, his latest role representing the U.S. as President Biden’s climate envoy may look like a demotion. But Kerry rejects any question about why he’s taken this role. The fate of civilization is on the line, and he will do anything he can to help. “I’ve fought around war and peace, and that was life and death.
Morgan Bazilian, a former EU representative during U.N. climate change negotiations, told The Hill it is possible that more countries could sign the pledge at the conference and it could be announced as a more formal coalition.
"There'll be a coalition announced ... that's how that will roll," said Bazilian, who is now a professor at the Colorado School of Mines. "It'll have tons of media. There'll be several events. There'll be several private dinners. There'll be some little negotiations like getting country X or Y to join."
Kizzier, meanwhile, said that in addition to more countries signing the pledge, something on methane could ultimately make it into final language approved by the conference.
"We might see methane actually called out or codified in the COP decision itself as a really important lever, so I think we might see both," she said. "That's definitely an important direction of travel for this COP."
The renewed focus on methane comes after a major U.N. climate report from August called for "strong, rapid and sustained reductions" in methane emissions to limit warming.
Heating up: World leaders take center stage at climate talks
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — It’s time for more than 130 world leaders to feel the heat. Over 130 heads of state will traipse to the podium Monday and Tuesday at crucial international climate talks in Scotland and talk about what their country is going to do about the threat of global warming. From U.S. President Joe Biden to Seychelles President Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan, they are expected to say how their nation will do its utmost, challenge colleagues to do more and generally turn up the rhetoric. © Provided by Associated Press People walk past a wall with a message on climate eduction at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.
Finishing the Paris rulebook
In 2015, the world's countries agreed to the landmark Paris agreement - seeking to limit warming by 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels, with a further goal of limiting it to 1.5 degrees.
As part of that agreement, countries are expected to submit increasingly ambitious climate plans every five years.
But countries haven't yet hammered out all the ways the agreement will be implemented, with negotiations ongoing in areas like carbon markets and rules for transparency and accountability.
Tony La Viña, who was a negotiator for the Philippines at the Paris summit, told reporters this week that these rules are important for implementing the agreement.
"The reason why you need to have rules is that that's what will drive implementation and accountability of parties to what they promised to do," said La Viña, who is the executive director at the Manila Observatory, a Jesuit scientific research institution.
He specifically said it was important to get the carbon markets piece - known as Article Six - done right.
"The sustainable development mechanism in Article Six ... if designed properly with the right safeguards, it could contribute to ambitious outcomes in terms of mitigation but if not designed well, without safeguards, in a way that diminishes environmental integrity and accountability, then the mechanism will actually have the opposite effect," he said.
Kizzier said she expects progress on transparency and carbon markets.
"I certainly hope that we're going to see agreement on Article Six," she said. "We've had a lot of progress in the past two or three COPs and if we could just make that progress and resolve the sort of handful of diplomatic level issues. Then we'll have ... a final component of the Paris rulebook agreed."
UK tells private sector it must invest big to save planet .
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Britain called Wednesday for the world's financial industry to channel its vast funds towards greener investments to ensure that global efforts to curb global warming succeed. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said that while the U.K. government is providing fresh financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, “public investment alone isn’t enough.” Speaking at the U.N. climate summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow, Sunak said U.K.