Climate-vulnerable nations demand Glasgow Emergency Pact

Energy & Climate Change

From Karen Thomas in Glasgow

Fifty-five nations hit hardest by climate impacts have proposed an emergency deal to hold rich countries to limit global warming, make good the Paris Agreement’s “broken promises” on climate finance and discuss loss-and-damage reparations at future COP summits.

In a press conference last night, members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) set out the proposed Glasgow Emergency Pact. This urges parties to the Paris Agreement to:

  • Report emissions performance and targets annually, to get the world back on track to limit global heating to the 1.5˚C limit that scientists recommend
  • Make good the Paris Agreement’s “broken promise” for rich countries to provide US$100 billion a year to help the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change
  • Discuss loss and damage – and agree reparations payments from the world’s worst polluters to the world’s worst-hit peoples – at all future COP summits.

Speakers including Ghana climate negotiator Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, youth activists Elizabeth Wathuti of Kenya and Vanessa Nakate of Uganda, CAN International climate lead Harjeet Singh and Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan called on COP26 to act urgently in its closing hours to protect people in the most vulnerable nations.

“The coming days and hours are critical for people in the countries for whom 1.5˚C is a matter of life or death,” Morgan said.

The pact seeks to hold world governments to the recommended +1.5˚C limit on global heating, reporting progress and reviewing their targets annually at future COP summits. Current CVF president nation Bangladesh said parties “need to get back on track, in both ambition and climate finance”.

On Tuesday, Climate Action Tracker reported that countries’ current climate pledges set the world on course to heat up by 2.4˚C by 2100. COP26 “has a massive credibility, action and commitment gap”, CAT concluded.

And this week the UK-based Met Office warned that a billion people face deadly heatwaves and humidity if temperatures rise above 2˚C.

Annual reporting would focus parties on meeting their 2030 targets. Having this Climate Emergency Ambition Platform “would foster continuous ambition-raising and progressively build towards much stronger nationally determined contribution (NDC) submissions at the end of the next five-year cycle”, CVF said.

Mind the gap

The pact also calls out rich countries for falling short on climate finance to help vulnerable countries to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Of US$100 billion that the Paris Agreement promised to fund climate adaptation in 2020, just US$80 billion materialised. CVF is calling for a delivery plan for the US$500 billion promised to climate-vulnerable countries for 2020-2024.

CVF represents 1.2 billion people living in the coastal, island and developing nations that are already feeling the worst effects of climate-related storms, heatwaves, floods, droughts and cyclones. “There are gaps in emissions reductions and gaps in loss and damage finance – and rich countries’ governments do not want to step up to fill those gaps,” Wathuti said.

“Leaders need to know that the decisions they make here are affecting real people, like me, in the countries that have not created the climate crisis and that are being sidelined from decision-making at this COP. But their lives are hanging in the balance at COP26.”

Nakate said: “A 2.4˚C world means a death sentence to a country like mine. That kind of increase spells total global devastation. It means suffering, and suffering and suffering. It is a disaster.”

Bangladesh-based climate scientist Saleemul Huq told journalists that there is precedent for such emergency actions at previous COPs, including the genesis of the Green Climate Fund. He called on the UK presidency to declare a Glasgow loss and damage facility.

More #COP26 bits and bobs @KT_environment

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