President János Áder has highlighted how this week’s United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow did not yield enough specific commitments aimed at combating climate change.
Speaking to public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió, President Áder said the fact that the world’s top emitters had failed to make substantial progress at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend had already been “a bad sign” ahead of the COP26 conference. Meanwhile, China, Brazil, Russia and Turkey were not even present in Glasgow, he added.
The president noted that six years ago countries joined the Paris climate accord on a voluntary basis. They agreed to review their progress on the commitments agreed on in the pact in five years’ time. These, President Áder noted, included a reduction in CO2 emissions and keeping global warming below 2°C as against pre-industrial levels. But, he added, it had already been clear in Paris that the world would not even succeed in limiting global warming to the minimum target, let alone 1.5°C. “And the only reason why this target made it into the agreement was because the small island countries wouldn’t have signed it without it, as they’re the ones most threatened by climate change if they are flooded by the rising waters,” he said.
President Áder said more and more was being made of the 1.5°C target even though the world’s chances were fading to meet even the 2 degree target. If this keeps up, global temperatures will rise by 2.7°C, he said. The president said many had expected the Glasgow conference to produce an agreement on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, a ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants, or a deal on developed countries mobilizing 100 billion dollars per year in climate finance to developing countries. So far, some 80 billion dollars has been mobilised for this purpose, with the EU27 having contributed their share, he said. As regards the positive takeaways from the conference, President Áder welcomed India’s commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2070 and to have 50% of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2030. The commitment by 100 countries to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030 can also be considered a step in the right direction, he added.
Photo credit: MTI