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Forget COP26, the G20 Still Struggles to Meet COP15 and COP09

The top 20 group of nations is still fighting over the Paris accord reached in COP15.
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Cuts Needed For staying Below

COP26 is the 26th annual Conference of Parties on climate change. The goal of these meetings is to agree to methods of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels by 2100. 

Let's check in on a G20 meeting that is ahead of COP26.

Please note G-20 Nations Agree to Speed Up Climate Action, but Fail to Settle on Targets.

During a two-day meeting in Rome, the G-20 nations, which include the U.S., India and China, struggled to find consensus on how best to adhere to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. 

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, which aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius” compared with preindustrial levels, according to a copy of the leaders’ final joint communiqué.

The final communiqué included no new commitments to phase out coal use domestically or fossil-fuel subsidies.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government is hosting the COP26 summit, said on Saturday that it currently looked unlikely that the 1.5 degrees Celsius target would be met. U.N. climate experts say that global warming needs to be capped at that level to avoid major environmental catastrophe.

Current national climate plans, however, “still condemn the world to a calamitous 2.7-degree increase,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters on Friday. Mr. Guterres has previously called carbon neutrality by 2050 “the world’s most urgent mission.”

Huge Disconnect Between Climate Rhetoric and Doing Anything About It

I posted the COP26 agenda and expected actions in Huge Disconnect Between Climate Rhetoric and Doing Anything About It.

What to Expect

  • October 30-31: Another useless communiqué reaffirming 1.5C goal.
  • 1-2 November: Lots of speeches including another world will end in 15 years keynote address. Xi Jinping will not signal China means business or if he does, it will be a lie.
  • November 4: Energy Day – Alok Sharma will fight to “make coal history”. There will be new signatories to the UN’s No New Coal pact but China and the US won't be among them.
  • November 5: Expect noisy protests from Greta Thunberg. This goal will certainly be met but it will not accomplish a damn thing.
  • November 10: Transport day, with focus on cutting carbon from cars. Key moment: Boris Johnson will hope for new national bans on petrol and diesel car sales. If there is anything to cheer it will come in this sector. But there will not be meaningful bans on petrol other than perhaps diesel cars. Most of the success will happen anyway from car makers.
  • November 12: Negotiations are due to end, so expect last minute scuffles to delay proceedings. Key moment: release of the negotiated text. No climate target, but nations are likely to reaffirm support for 1.5C goal. The text is sure to disappoint climate change activists.

It appears we are well ahead of the schedule I proposed earlier especially in regards to coal. And we already have two mentions of environmental catastrophe.

Hopes Unfulfilled But Not Buried 

Secretary-General of the UN,  António Guterres, said "I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled — but at least they are not buried. Onwards to #COP26 in Glasgow to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive and to implement promises on finance and adaptation for people & planet."

The Planet is Hell 

"I don't want my granddaughters to grow up and say that the planet is hell and I didn't do enough to avoid it."

That's a new creative statement. Let's see if Gretta picks up on it. 

COP09 Failure

Reuters has these comments on COP09

G20 sources said negotiations were tough over so-called "climate financing", which refers to a 2009 pledge by rich nations to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change.

They have failed to meet the pledge, generating mistrust and a reluctance among some developing nations to accelerate their emissions reductions.

"We recall and reaffirm the commitment made by developed countries, to the goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 and annually through 2025 to address the needs of developing countries," the G20 statement says.

Given that it's 2021 headed into 2022 it seem more than a bit difficult to meet a pledge to do something by 2020.

Where the H is the Communiqué?

I spent a half an hour trying to find it but all I can find is references to it.

France 24 reports G20 leaders release watered-down final statement on climate commitments ahead of COP26.

The statement represented "half-measures" rather than "concrete urgent action", one non-governmental organisation said.

The G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

"This was a moment for the G20 to act with the responsibility they have as the biggest emitters, yet we only see half-measures rather than concrete urgent action," said Friederike Roder, vice president of sustainable development advocacy group Global Citizen.

"We recognise that the impacts of climate change at 1.5°C are much lower than at 2°C. Keeping 1.5°C within reach will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries," the communique said.

China, the world's biggest CO2 emitter, has set a target date of 2060, and other large polluters such as India and Russia have also not committed to the 2050 target date.

The G20 also set no date for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, saying they will aim to do so "over the medium term".

G-20 Leaders Strike Climate Deal That Leaves a Lot to COP26

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Bloomberg reports G-20 Leaders Strike Climate Deal That Leaves a Lot to COP26

In a copy of the final communique seen by Bloomberg from the G-20’s two-day summit in Rome, the language mirrors prior pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate accord. Leaders said they “remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

On domestic coal, the statement only contains a general pledge to support those countries that commit to “phasing out investment in new unabated coal power generation capacity to do so as soon as possible.” 

While COP26’s U.K. hosts had aimed to “consign coal to history,” many nations remain deeply dependent on burning the fuel that represents the biggest single obstacle to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

Negotiations over the past week saw continuous clashes over both objectives and timelines on climate, with several officials pointing the finger at holdouts China, Russia and India. The last round of talks saw negotiators known as sherpas talk throughout Saturday night, and they celebrated the end of their marathon with applause at the main La Nuvola venue at about 10 a.m.

Celebrated What? 

Check out this statement by Russia. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country has set 2060 as its target, told reporters at a briefing. “It is not very polite to use this negotiating process the way the G-7 tried to,” Lavrov said. “Nobody has proven to us or anybody else that 2050 is something which everyone must subscribe to.”

Deal? What Deal?

The Bloomberg headline said the G-20 struck a deal. What deal was that?

I see no deal. Heck, no one will even post the final communique. 

Now it's off to COP26 where the summit highlight will surely be Gretta lecturing the world. I can't wait to see if she mentions hell on earth. 


Yes, I am clearly a cynic on these meetings. But COP26 is no different that any G meeting (G7, G20, G100 G whatever). 

And G whatever is no different than trade meetings that fail every year over the same thing: agricultural tariffs.

For nearly 20 years I have been reporting on trade hopes and every year the result is the same. 

In the annual trade meetings the US inevitably says it will lift tariffs if the EU will. But  the EU won't and never will because France has a veto. 

This is the 26th COP. Commitments made at COP09 and COP15 have not been met. 

What to Expect - Short Version

Expect no new commitments of any substance at COP26. If by chance there are any, they will be as meaningful in practice as commitments made at COP09.

In short, countries will do what they want, when they want, but the media will always praise Saint Gretta.  

A Word About Coal

Question of the Day

On or before Nov 5 will Gretta make a reference to the planet being hell?

Thanks for Tuning In!

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