The fight against the climate emergency “is an obligation for our citizens and a guarantee of security for the next generations. The objective is to save the planet ”. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has repeated his solid message against climate change, which he has once again called "the greatest challenge of our civilization." It has been done in the so-called Ambition Summit held telematically this Saturday to try to patch the delay in global action against the climate crisis derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sánchez has presented in this sequence of interventions by 71 heads of state and government the Spanish long-term decarbonization strategy. A plan approved on November 3, which marks the reduction in 2050 of 90% of CO2 emissions compared to the 1990 level. The remaining 10% to cover all gas emissions "will be absorbed by carbon sinks", has explained the Executive
The interventions have been followed by summoned by the UN, Great Britain and France with the condition of announcing firm and ambitious actions, but it has not stopped being a battery of speeches (some clearly prerecorded) made at a distance. Without the pressure and negotiations, it is possible to meet more reluctant countries like Saudi Arabia or Russia face to face. Everyone has given their short speech.
The teleconference arrives exactly on the day of the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Agreement against climate change. Five years since the president of the conference, Laurent Fabius, dropped the gavel to close the negotiations: the world agreed to try to limit global warming to below 2ºC. Each party would do "what they could" and put it in writing so that the others could judge.
The COVID pandemic has ushered in a decisive year in efforts to reverse the climate crisis. The calendar that was created in Paris in 2015 has come to a halt. The commitments submitted by the countries under the global agreement are not enough and the planet is running out of time: the review of all these plans indicates that the Earth will warm 3ºC in 2100. The Paris target is not met.
Among the 70 presentations on Saturday, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Chinese President Xi Jinping participated. This list gives some idea about the relevance that the states have given it, although it is an appointment to which most governments carry plans that they have previously announced and presented.
Although the confinements and stops to try to stop the coronavirus have caused this year the emissions of gases that warm the planet to fall by 7%, last year a historical peak had been reached. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (the main cause of climate change) is going to exceed 412 parts per million. Levels unprecedented in millions of years and, above all, that have escalated dramatically since humanity burned fossil fuels for energy: a period of just over 150 years.
Without an international climate event in 2020, many states have not submitted action programs or upwardly revised versions as anticipated. Partly for this reason, this virtual summit has been set up where heads of State and Government have been able to announce ambitious objectives, long-term plans ... but without the obligation to send more or less concrete documents as expected before postponing the Glasgow Climate Summit from November 2020 to 2021.
"It is a monumental step on the way to COP26 in Glasgow," said the organizers of this event promoted by Great Britain, France and the UN. What happens is that this work should have been completed this year, as indicated by the Paris Agreement and more if it is a "pact of hope with the peoples of the world that will help advance in our current trajectory towards a better destiny", as It has been described by the UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change, Elena Espinosa, upon reaching the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement. There are no POPs, but climate change continues and its harmful effects as well
It is true that the European Union reached an agreement between all states this Friday to increase ambition and cut joint EU emissions by 55% by 2030, on the way to 100% mid-century. China had also already announced that it wants to be carbon neutral in 2060 which has dragged down Japan or South Korea. Those trails, if translated into tangible actions, would stop global warming by just over two degrees and make the Paris goal feasible, according to the mathematical projections of Climate Action Tracker.
"There is nothing to celebrate until there are policies and measures that match the scientific indications," says Javier Andaluz, head of climate change at Ecologistas en Acción. "2020 was expected to be fundamental and it has been put on hold," insists Andaluz, recalling that now it is closer to exceeding 2ºC than it was five years ago.
In this sense, the Greenpeace organization also considers that “the agreement is not being fulfilled and the governments are not up to what they promised five years ago. The climate emergency continues ”.