Glasgow Agreement

News: The Glasgow Agreement was finally adopted after a last-minute intervention by India to water down language on “phasing out” coal to merely “phasing down”.

Glasgow Agreement

  • The Glasgow meeting was the 26th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP26.
  • These meetings are held every year to construct a global response to climate change.
  • Each of these meetings produce a set of decisions which are given different names.
  • In the current case, this has been called the Glasgow Climate Pact.
  • Earlier, these meetings have also delivered two treaty-like international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Achievement:

Mitigation:

  • The Glasgow agreement has emphasised that stronger action in the current decade was most critical to achieving the 1.5-degree target. Accordingly, it has asked/decided:
    • To strengthen their 2030 climate action plans, or NDCs (nationally-determined contributions), by next year
    • Establish a work programme to urgently scale-up mitigation ambition and implementation
    • To convene an annual meeting of ministers to raise ambition of 2030 climate actions
    • Annual synthesis report on what countries were doing
    • To convene a meeting of world leaders in 2023 to scale-up ambition of climate action
    • Countries to make efforts to reduce usage of coal as a source of fuel, and abolish “inefficient” subsidies on fossil fuels
    • Phase-down of coal, and phase-out of fossil fuels. This is the first time that coal has been explicitly mentioned in any COP decision.

Adaptation:

  • Most of the countries, especially the smaller and poorer ones, and the small island states, consider adaptation to be the most important component of climate action. They have been demanding that at least half of all climate finance should be directed towards adaptation efforts.
  • As such, the Glasgow Climate Pact has Asked the developed countries to at least double the money being provided for adaptation by 2025 from the 2019 levels.
  • It also created a two-year work programme to define a global goal on adaptation.

Finance:

  • Every climate action has financial implications. It is now estimated that trillions of dollars are required every year to fund all the actions necessary to achieve the climate targets. Developed countries are under an obligation, due to their historical responsibility in emitting greenhouse gases. They need to provide finance and technology to the developing nations to help them deal with climate change.
  • In 2009, developed countries had promised to mobilise at least $100 billion every year from 2020. The 2020 deadline has long passed but the $100 billion promise has not been fulfilled. The developed nations have now said that they will arrange this amount by 2023.

Accounting earlier failures

  • The pact has expressed “deep regrets” over the failure of the developed countries to deliver on their $100 billion promise. It has asked them to arrange this money urgently and in every year till 2025
  • It initiated discussions on setting the new target for climate finance, beyond $100 billion for the post-2025 period. It has asked the developed countries to provide transparent information about the money they plan to provide

Loss and Damage:

  • The frequency of climate disasters has been rising rapidly, and many of these caused largescale devastation.
  • There is no institutional mechanism to compensate these nations for the losses, or provide them help in the form of relief and rehabilitation. The loss and damage provision in the Paris Agreement seeks to address that.
  • Thanks to a push from many nations, substantive discussions on loss and damage could take place in Glasgow. One of the earlier drafts included a provision for setting up of a facility to coordinate loss and damage activities.

Carbon Markets:

  • Carbon markets facilitate the trading of emission reductions. They are considered a very important and effective instrument to reduce overall emissions. A carbon market existed under Kyoto Protocol but is no longer there because the Protocol itself expired last year.
  • Developing countries like India, China or Brazil have large amounts of carbon credits left over because of the lack of demand as many countries abandoned their emission reduction targets. The Glasgow Pact has offered some reprieve to the developing nations. It has allowed these carbon credits to be used in meeting countries’ first NDC targets.

Parallel announcements:

  • A lot of substantial action in Glasgow happened in parallel processes that were not a part of the official COP discussions. India announced a Panchamrita (a mixture of five elements) of climate actions.
  • Brazil would advance its net-zero target year from 2060 to 2050.
  • China promised to come out with a detailed roadmap for its commitment to let emissions peak in 2030, and also for its 2060 net-zero target. Israel announced a net zero target for 2050.
  • Over 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 per cent from present levels by 2030.
  • Another set of over 100 countries promised to arrest and reverse deforestation by 2030.
  • Over 30 countries signed on to a declaration promising to work towards a transition to 100 percent zero-emission cars by the year 2040, at least in the leading car markets of the world.