An Inconvenient Fact: Climate Change Won’t Be Solved in This Desert

Here’s the inconvenient truth: governments are undermining the Paris climate agreement just seven years after they signed it. And nearly all of the big companies that have announced pledges to reduce net carbon emissions to zero have failed to come up with plans that match their words.

Dozens of national leaders are due to come to the desert resort town for the conference, which runs until November 18. Among them is President Joe Biden, who the White House said will attend next Friday “to highlight the need for the world to act on this critical decade.”

On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country ranks first among the current polluters of greenhouse gases, said, Planning to skip the top.

Leaders who attend can expect their green promises to face many skepticism.

About 170 countries, including the United States, failed to update their 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets, as they had now promised at last year’s climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

While the climate law Biden signed this year would help reduce American emissions if fully implemented, the legislation would not be enough for the country to meet the administration’s current pledge to cut those emissions in half by 2030. Nor would it prepare the United States to do so. Exceed those goals, as the Paris Agreement envisioned.

This collective failure to deliver homework, combined with the failure of rich countries to deliver the promised climate finance to the world’s poorest, leaves Only one nation on track to achieve Paris goals: Gambia.

Even the United Nations Environment Program admits it There is no reliable path. Exists to meet the Paris Agreement ceiling for global temperature rise, 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels. Exceed this limit Significantly increases the risk From climate-related pests such as droughts, floods, wildfires and the spread of tropical diseases, scientists say.

Despite all these setbacks, people outside of national governments continue to embrace the power calling for annual summits.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said, whose company “Strategic Principal Partner” COP27 of Egypt, in an interview before the summit.

Then rate those comments.

“In the short term, in some cases people may move faster than they are able to achieve their goals. But they are placing big bets on the ground,” which means he insists he is an optimist in the long term.

If the annual climate conferences fail, the world will have no obvious alternative.

The G-20 – the only forum that brings US, Chinese, European, Indian and Russian leaders together on an intimate level – does not seem ready to take over. The most viable bilateral forum – US-China dialogues – paused due to Beijing’s insistence: Revenge on the Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiVisit to Taiwan in August.

Here are some other directions to watch out for in Sharm El Sheikh:

Corporate numbers do not add up

Climate pledges by corporations and banks seem as weak as government promises.

Banks say More than $130 trillion of private capital has been allocated To transform the economy to net carbon emissions. But the Rockefeller Foundation and Boston Consulting Group have calculated that the public and private joint capital published so far only meets 16 percent of the world’s climate finance needs.

While about 700 of the world’s largest companies now have net-zero emissions targets set for 2040 or 2050, a New report from Accenture He says that “93 percent of companies with zero net liabilities will fail to meet their goals,” based on their current trajectories.

Anything worse than Trump?

Former President Donald Trump spent years serving as a major villain in global climate talks, for withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and stirring up the climate-denying wing of the Republican Party.

Xi now has a credible claim to the Trump title.

While the world is likely to miss the 45 percent emissions cut needed by 2030 to stay on track to meet Paris’s 1.5-degree target, tough measures by China – the country responsible for 28 percent of current annual carbon emissions – are one Some of the actions that can change the outcome.

Instead, China will keep its 2030 emissions roughly constant with its 2020 production and that, According to the NGO Climate Action Trackercorresponds to global warming by 3 degrees.

Rich and poor countries in parallel worlds

The world’s most climate-vulnerable nations, often among the poorest, need only a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars devoted to green energy transitions in rich countries to tackle the worst effects of climate change.

They don’t get it, and they are now upping the ante by pursuing climate damages claims — compensation for facing the climate havoc they didn’t create.

While this campaign is unlikely to yield significant results at this month’s conference, the United States is delivering a new message about climate reparations after years of resisting. Washington is now open to debate – but says China, which has not shown any interest in contributing, should pay as well.

At the same time, there are fundamental disagreements about what kinds of energy rich countries should finance.

There is pressure on multilateral development banks and private finance to stop financing fossil fuels. But – thanks to Russia’s war against Ukraine – even wealthy European countries have a growing appetite for natural gas, and they need to get it somewhere other than Russia.

This puts countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Mozambique and Egypt, which host the 27th United Nations Cup, in a difficult position. To get climate finance, they often need to dump natural gas, but to earn profitable export income from Europeans, they need to tap into natural gas.

As financiers and governments debate whether natural gas is an acceptable energy source, they risk being pillaged by rising interest rates. “Constantly high interest rates are putting pressure on building new infrastructure, particularly capital-intensive clean energy projects,” said Joe Webster, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

No one expects a new global breakthrough at this COP27, but Jorge Gastelumendi, who has attended more than 20 COPs, including as Peru’s negotiator, said “the COP process has gone beyond government negotiations.”

“The wings of non-state actors are where the action really takes place: where asset managers, insurers and investment banks operate,” he said.

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