Hope, anger, tears, repeat

November 16, 2021

These are the three words that could sum up this Conference of the Parties 26.

First of all, hope, embodied by David Attenborough's speech, which called on the world to seize the climate disaster. This was followed by Greta Thunberg's pamphlet. Relayed far beyond Glasgow through demonstrations around the world, denouncing the inaction of the world's decision-makers, year after year, COP after COP. And finally, the conclusion of these two weeks, pronounced by Alok Sharma on the verge of tears. He had no choice but to express his disappointment while announcing the closure of COP26, materialised by a "Glasgow Climate Pact" which probably does not satisfy many people.

Suiting everyone, satisfying no one

The global carbon trading system is indicative of the dilution of good intentions. On one hand, satisfaction of having agreed on a priority issue from the Paris Agreement. On the other hand, detractors who, quite rightly, blame the down streaming of a system adapted for biggest polluters to keep their modus operandi. For example, carbon offsets linked to the trading system - ultimately a zero-sum game - will be progressively reduced. This is a good way to improve, but the pace set is so slow that it is difficult to see sufficient determination to change. Countries that are affected the most by climate issues will continue their "business as usual", worsening conditions for their citizens.

However, there is nothing worse in the UN microcosm than not reaching an agreement, even if it has to be shrunk. This resulted in many countries criticizing the lack of ambition, without opposing the adopted text. Last-minute adjustments benefiting major fossil fuel producers and consumers such as Australia, Russia, or India have been edited. Containing global warming to 1.5°C remains currently a chimera.

Already an eye on the COP27
The focus is already on the next Conference. An indicator to follow are the commitments, which this time will have to be reviewed more regularly.
We will see how and whether the ratification of the new Pact has been implemented in each country. To really turn the situation around, governments will have to see the urgency and take binding measures.
All crises have one thing in common: we cannot avoid them, because they cannot be sufficiently predicted. This climate crisis is worsening year after year. It would certainly be wise to act now rather to deal with consequences later.

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