“Red alert for humanity”. Faced with fears of a sinking of the COP26 for the climate which begins on Sunday, calls to do more and faster to curb global warming are raining down on the leaders of a world already victim of serial disasters.
Siberia and California ravaged by flames, spectacular floods in Germany or Belgium, delirious heatwave in Canada … While the planet has gained around + 1.1 ° C since the pre-industrial era, humans are already living the consequences dramatic effects of the warming they have caused.
And this is just the beginning, warn scientists, who stress that each additional fraction of a degree will bring its share of new disasters.
As summarized in a United Nations clip of a CG dinosaur bursting into the UN General Assembly Hall: “At least we had an asteroid, what’s your excuse? Don’t choose extinction, save your species before it’s too late.”
Faced with the apocalyptic future predicted by climate scientists from the UN (IPCC), the solution is clear: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 to limit warming to + 1.5 ° C, the most ambitious objective of the Paris agreement, and continue to achieve carbon neutrality around 2050.
But according to a recent UN report, even with the new commitments of States for 2030, the planet is heading towards a “catastrophic” warming of + 2.7 ° C.
“Madness is always doing the same thing and expecting a different result”, Oxford University’s Myles Allen quipped, paraphrasing Einstein, noting that at the current rate, the results claimed for 2030 would only come “in the 2080s”.
Governments “are not up to the task,” insists UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, pointing the finger at the G20, which represents three-quarters of global emissions and which meets at the top this weekend. end in Rome.
“It is absolutely essential that all the G20 countries present contributions compatible with + 1.5 ° C before Glasgow or in Glasgow”, insisted Mr. Guterres, “deeply worried” in the run-up to COP26.
Same story with the British organizers. “I am very worried, because it can go very badly“, declared Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, without losing hope.
China, the world’s largest emitter, has still not submitted its formal commitments. But even countries that have already done so can and should strengthen them, experts say.
In an attempt to give a strong political impetus to the two-week conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where more than 120 leaders are expected on Monday and Tuesday, including the American Joe Biden, the Indian Narendra Modi, the French Emmanuel Macron, the Australian Scott Morrisson, or Canadian Justin Trudeau.
But not the Russian president Vladimir Poutine nor the queen Elisabeth II who gave up “with regret”, after a hospitalization.
As for President Xi Jinping, even if he has not left China since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, COP26 President Alok Sharma is still hoping for his arrival.
To put pressure on the leaders, Extinction Rebellion and other organizations are planning actions during the COP, in Scotland or elsewhere, and young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is calling to join her in Glasgow on November 5 for a march for the “climate justice “.
“Question of survival”
This question of justice is central for this world climate conference postponed for a year due to the pandemic but where the inequalities of access linked to Covid-19 are denounced by civil society organizations, a key link in these major -mass climate.
Among the explosive subjects linked to this same justice, the solidarity between the North, responsible for global warming, and the South, on the front line in the face of the impacts of climate change – but also of Covid-19.
And more specifically the still unfulfilled promise of developed countries to increase their assistance to poor countries to $ 100 billion per year by 2020 to adapt to the consequences and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The report presented this week by the presidency of the COP26, which ensures that it can reach 100 billion in 2023 and then exceed them each year, has not alleviated the anger of the most vulnerable countries, far from it.
“It is a terrible blow for the developing world”, denounced Walton Webson, who chairs the alliance of small island states (AOSIS). For these islands on the front line facing the rising oceans, financial assistance is “a matter of survival “, he insisted.
Other contentious subjects at the heart of the two weeks of discussions, the exit from fossil fuels, primarily coal, the necessary acceleration of adaptation to the impacts of global warming, or the negotiations to finally complete the instructions for use of the ‘Paris Agreement, in particular on the functioning of carbon markets.
“COP26 is the perfect opportunity for countries to show that they have learned the lesson from recent climate disasters”, summarizes Anaid Velasco, member of the Climate Action Network, which brings together hundreds of NGOs.