Climate change 2021 ends with not very optimistic hopes

Climate change and a 2021 that began with high hopes and ended with pessimistic predictions

The year 2021 began with high hopes in the fight against climate change, with the return to international negotiating tables of a key player like the United States and the planning of a UN-led conference (COP26), which was expected to be historic due to the possibility of a green transition following the pandemic’s forced pause.

However, the summit’s modest outcomes and researchers’ pessimistic forecasts made it increasingly evident that a solution to the climate catastrophe is still a long way off.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a strong report in August, calling it “unequivocal” that humanity has warmed the atmosphere, oceans, and land, resulting in “generalized and fast changes” on the world.

Increased average temperature and extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves and torrential rains are the results of these environmental changes.

Droughts and fires, which were felt this year in Argentina due to the Paraná River’s historic low water level and flames in Córdoba and other regions.

The analysis pointed out that, at this rate, the Paris Agreement objective of keeping temperatures below 2°C, ideally 1.5°C, would not be met; instead, by the end of the century, a 4.4°C increase will have occurred.

In response, the climate analysis coalition Climate Action Tracker released a report warning that even if the countries’ COP26 reduction targets are met, global temperatures will rise by more than 2.4° C by the end of the century, an alarming forecast but more optimistic than the UN Environment Program’s (UNEP) update, which predicts global warming of between 2.5° C and 2.7° C by the end of the century.

As confirmation, the World Meteorological Organization recently produced a paper indicating that in June 2020, at the start of the Russian summer, a temperature of 38°C was recorded in Siberia, which is the highest temperature ever recorded above the Arctic Circle.

With these assessments in hand, COP26 concluded with a text inviting countries to present fresh national commitments and long-term low-emission development policies at the 2022 conference.

However, for the activists who staged protests during the conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and hundreds of other places across the world, those ‘are just words,’ because nothing is binding.

Rather, the approval of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which relates to monetary transactions involving greenhouse gas emissions between a country that emits little and another country or corporation that emits more than allowed, was obtained during COP26.

Developing countries wanted to include a part requiring that some of the money go to the climate change adaptation fund, but the US objected, so everyone caved in so they could regulate it.

Environmental activists, on the other hand, downplay the significance of Article 6 and argue that it demonstrates a lack of understanding among decision-makers that what really needs to change are the modes of production and consumption.

In this perspective, Guillermo Folguera, a biologist and Conicet researcher, alluded to something that had previously piqued activists’ interest at the previous COP: the overwhelming presence of corporate lobbies at the conference.

The financial market is extremely active, requiring extremely rapid investment and exploitation rates for these mega projects. The worldwide financial market promotes many of these projects. The main issue is that the government sectors still do not view it as a problem; instead, they find a means to bend without changing the real procedures that are causing this,’ Folguera assured Télam.

For the same reason, Juan Esteche, a nutritionist and spokesman for the Argentinean organization Basta de Falsas Soluciones (BFS), warned that the solution to the climate issue may come from local fights rather than the next COP.

‘I doubt the current political leadership will be equal to the task if the people do not rise up,’ he said.

Article Author: Gerluxe Image: vox