Climate peaks never jump forward
Samsom, prime minister and right-hand man of EU negotiator Timmermans, has been following the UN climate summits since their inception in 1995. MEP Eckhout has been there since 2000. de Volkskrant He interviewed them after the failed summit in Copenhagen (2009) and they are doing it again now.
Is this the result you came to Glasgow for?
samsum: ‘If you assume modest expectations: Yes. I always hoped for more. But then everything should go well, and experience in climate peaks shows that this is usually not the case. International diplomacy rarely leads to great leaps forward. The Paris climate summit was an exception, and the Copenhagen summit was clearly at rock bottom. The results of climate peaks can be divided into three categories: low, medium and high. You have to avoid going low, because we need more and more high scenarios. This did not work in Glasgow.
equate: No, but the result is more positive than in Copenhagen. Then there was a very brief climax of interest in the climate. All the greats came and talked about it and then got dumped again as quickly as possible. This is no longer the case. Climate is high on the political agenda, and politicians no longer escape ignoring climate change when they return home. Glasgow hasn’t achieved the major breakthrough that was needed, but it has increased pressure for next year’s Egypt Climate Summit.
Could a different outcome be possible?
equate: ‘I think so. Glasgow has once again become the classic battle between rich and poor countries. Then things get worse in the climate peaks. Paris achieved success because Europe formed an alliance with the less developed countries, an alliance that the United States and China eventually joined. It hasn’t happened in the past two weeks. This gave China an opportunity to keep ambitions low. Europe stood alone and then would never win the battle.
“The debate was fierce about climate neutrality in the years 2050, 2060 and 2070. While we know that action is needed in the coming years to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. This climate ambition in this crucial decade has been postponed by one year. The optimist will say: We admit that This work is necessary. True, but another year is wasted. And that is too much for the remaining eight years of this decade.
samsum: “As I said: Only if all goes well, if a number of the big CO2 emitters put their new plans for reduction on the table before the climate summit, we will move more about 1.5 degrees in Glasgow. Then there are China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. And their plans aren’t specific enough. The good thing is that we agreed that they should do it next year and that those plans are being monitored annually. That’s crucial progress.
Who hit the brakes hard?
samsum: the largest gas emitters and emerging economies. Brazil, South Africa, India, China. In 1992 it was agreed that these countries should submit climate plans that are less ambitious and not contribute to climate support for the poorest countries. As a result, China and Malawi fall into the same category. This is becoming increasingly difficult, the world really looked different in 1992. This outdated dualism means that the rich countries do not come to the fore, as they say: we do not want to pay for everything. If China invests hundreds of billions of dollars around the world to gain influence, it could also contribute to climate finance in Africa.
equate: ‘China. But Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries, Brazil and India also pressed the brakes. The biggest effect was China’s unwillingness. That made the climate summit very difficult.
Should the EU have done more in Glasgow?
equate: “We’ve been so busy with America. It’s nice and wonderful that the United States is back after Trump, but Washington will always be an unreliable party on climate. So stop this obsession with the United States and make alliances with less developed countries. They are suffering from climate change that They hardly contribute to it themselves. Europe has had to include this climate injustice in its strategy. This means more money for those countries, but also technology aid, giving up patents. If Europe does that, it will get allies, so that China can’t anymore from using the poorest countries in the unambitious climate wagon.
samsum: “You can always do more, this is an open door, but just walk through. Europe has by far the most ambitious climate goals. Also by far the most detailed and proven. In terms of financial aid, the EU contributes more than its share, also a year later 2025. EU negotiator Timmermans played a crucial role in crafting the final agreement in Glasgow If you leave that to the US and China, you won’t end up anywhere or at a very low level.
And then what?
samsum: The upcoming climate summit in Egypt. The success of the Summit can be measured in two ways: what has been achieved and the consistency of agreements on what remains to be achieved. For Glasgow, the first part is modest. But the second is very good with the conclusions regarding additional carbon plans and financing. Ball in place for COP27.
equate: “As chair of the upcoming climate summit, Egypt will follow the African Union’s agenda: focus more on money and justice than on stricter CO2 cuts. While Europe is the latter, it is important. This is why the EU would do better to invest less in relations with world’s greats and invest more in small African countries. Biden will be his head in the US midterm elections next year.”
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