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Context: The 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change started November 1, 2021 in Glasgow with much more media attention than the previous attentions. World leaders, including India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flagged off the fortnight. Now, the question is, what awaits the world at the end of the event?
First, not to work to erase the reality of climate injustice, but to embrace it for the future. In 1992, at the Rio Conference, when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was agreed upon, it was built on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.
The second agenda is to stop proselytisation about net zero emissions — it only deepens inequity and delays action. IPCC says the world must be net zero by 2050 and halve the emissions by 2030 over its 2010 levels to stay below 1.5°C.
The third agenda has to be about turning the spotlight on China. For long, China has hidden behind the Group of 77 — developing countries — and not made its real intention clear. In this coming decade, China will occupy 30 per cent of the available carbon budget; it has no absolute emissions reduction target.
The fourth agenda is finance — real, tangible and at the scale of the transformation needed. For long this promise has been lost in the imagery. This is what has led to the breakdown in trust between countries.
The fifth agenda for CoP26 is the near-stuck discussion on “loss and damage”. We are seeing huge devastations, caused by weird weather events. With each repeated disaster, people lose their ability to cope — to live in their repeatedly hit and devastated region; they get increasing impoverished; and increasingly desperate.
CoP26 must realise this is a time for courage, imagination and cooperation. People, particularly the young, are watching, not just in the privileged world but also in the voiceless and unconnected world. There is no time to waste. It’s time to act.
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