However, at COP26, a lot of other things were discussed and agreed upon. Let’s take a look at each of the dramatic scenes ahead of the closing ceremony to why we shouldn’t just focus on coal stationery.
#Scenes with _reversal_reversal
Ahead of the opening of COP26, everyone’s attention was focused on China’s move. Sessions are also scheduled to be attended by heads of countries, but from the prospect that President Xi Jinping will not attend in person, to the voice of China’s departure rather than simply Xi’s absence, it was mostly ‘concerned interest’. As one of the countries that emits the largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world right now, and the current EU followed by the United States, China’s move has emerged as a key factor as it is trying to strengthen its leadership in global greenhouse gas reduction. In addition, China’s actions are not limited to just one country with high emissions. China’s moves will inevitably affect the actions of other developing countries as well.
But did the Glasgow miracle happen? U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua appeared with more than just ‘meetings’. The two countries, the G2 countries, made an agreement in terms of economic scale and greenhouse gas emissions in a situation where each country cites different circumstances as reasons and rarely agrees. It is called the ‘Glasgow Joint Declaration to Strengthen Climate Action’.
As I introduced in last week’s series, the two countries recognize the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis as the warning contained in the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report released in August, and urge the two countries to work together to accelerate the world’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy. It didn’t stop at making a promise. We decided to cooperate in all key areas for carbon neutrality, such as various environmental standards and regulatory systems for greenhouse gas reduction, clean energy conversion, decarbonization and electrification policies, circular economy, and carbon capture. In addition, the two countries also agreed to communicate together in 2025 over the reduction targets for 2035.
We also agreed to reduce methane, which has been a hot topic recently. Methane is directly related to the development of gas resources as well as the agriculture and livestock industry. The two countries, which are engaged in large-scale livestock, agriculture and gas development, agreed to cooperate to strengthen methane reduction and exchange information on reduction policies and programs.
Following a reversal that washed away concerns that ‘agreement is unlikely to be reached’, another reversal appeared in just two days. This is exactly what happened at the closing ceremony site.
COP26, one day longer than expected. The scene before the closing ceremony was chaotic. More than just ‘busy’, ‘ominous clutter’ was also felt live on the official UN Climate Change YouTube account in Seoul, far away from Glasgow. On the podium, representatives from various countries, such as the Chairman and US Special Envoy for Climate Change, John Kerry, exchange opinions urgently, and under the podium, representatives from China and the EU, respectively, talk with serious expressions. The discussion time is over, and now it’s time to tap the baton and pass the ‘Glasgow Climate Agreement’, the result of COP26. What happened suddenly?
After the closing ceremony began, Indian Environment Minister Buffender Yadav, who had previously been on the podium and had a conversation with COP26 Chairman Alok Sharma, requested a say. Minister Yadav called for amendments to the agreement. It was a demand to change the phase-out of coal-fired power plants to reduction. In addition, it was proposed to add support for countries vulnerable to climate crisis, such as the least developed countries. Minister Yadav’s remarks were also the reason why special envoy Kerry busily talked up and down the podium just before the closing ceremony, and the chairperson had serious discussions with representatives of each country.
Then, the Environment Minister Shimoneta Somaruga, the Swiss representative, expressed deep disappointment. It was a statement on behalf of EIG, not simply as a representative of Switzerland. EIG stands for Environmental Integrity Group. Countries that are signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change belong to different groups. EIG includes not only Switzerland, but also Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, and Georgia. Among these groups are LDCs (Low Developing Countries), Umbrella Group (USA, Canada, Australia, etc.), EU27 (European Union) and AOSIS (Small Island Countries).
Minister Somaruga said, “What we need is phase-out, not phase-out,” and pointed out that “this happened at the last minute even though the chairman said that the draft proposed would not be changed.” He said, “I will not object because there should be no agreement that the agreement itself is not adopted.” When his remarks came out, applause continued for about 25 seconds at the scene. The applause stopped only after the chairman had said “thank you” several times.
Chairman Sharma apologized for this last-minute reversal. At the last moment, he bowed his head, saying, “I am deeply sorry” for the change in the contents of the agreement, “but protecting this package of agreement is also very important.” At the last moment, the attendees continued to applaud again at the appearance of the chairperson in tears.
The changes were as follows. The content that India spoke as its representative was included in the final draft of the Glasgow Climate Agreement. So, just before midnight on November 13, a unanimous agreement was made. Whenever we attempted to make great strides in responding to the climate crisis, there was always an ‘unexpected overtime’. COP15 in 2009 held in Copenhagen, Denmark, COP21 in 2015 that led to the Paris Agreement, and the ‘Global Warming 1.5℃ Special Report’ that unanimously decided to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5℃ instead of 2℃ The IPCC General Assembly… All of them exceeded the due date, and a final agreement was reached.
Naturally, criticism poured in from all over the world. Even the representatives of each country who had already attended COP26 were bitter, but the hearts of those who watched this General Assembly with stern eyes must have been heartbroken.
Salimul Hook, Director of the Center for International Climate Change and Development Research, said, “In fact, countries on our planet that are vulnerable to climate change attended this COP26 general meeting eagerly waiting for some results to reduce the damage caused by climate change.” It’s just a level of ‘Let’s discuss more, let’s cooperate’.” Greenpeace Secretary General Jennifer Morgan said, “The agreement contained a sign that the end of coal was contained, but only mild and weak expressions. ” he criticized.
The climate crisis emergency action, which is a gathering of domestic environmental groups, also pointed out that “the COP itself revealed a problem. . Regarding the discussion on subsidies for developing countries and least developed countries, he said, “It is unclear whether the scale and execution of the fund will prevent and compensate for damages to countries vulnerable to the climate crisis. done,” he criticized.
However, looking at the contents agreed at COP26, there are many things that I wonder if it is the right time to talk about ‘step-by-step reduction of coal power generation’ in Korea. We still have internal understanding and consensus on reduction, but the international community has already set specific rules on how to utilize the results of reduction. The core of this General Assembly is the completion of the Paris Agreement Rule Book, the implementation rules. We’ll take a closer look at this topic in next week’s series.
We end this week with a speech from one of COP26’s many speeches, congratulating us on our efforts and achievements, at the same time pointing out our indolence, and realistically looking forward to our future journey. It was the last 5 minutes of a speech that stood out for its excellent insight that caught everyone’s eyes and ears even in a speech that lasted close to 50 minutes. Former US President Barack Obama, the protagonist of the speech, seemed to have already predicted what would happen at the closing ceremony.
So let me close by being blunt, keeping the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius will not be easy. It is going to be hard. Existing political institutions move slowly.. Even when leaders are well intentioned. International cooperation has always been difficult. It’s made more difficult by all the misinformation and propaganda that can flood out through social media these days.
Simply put, it will not be easy to keep the global average temperature rise within 1.5°C. It will be difficult. No matter how intentionally the leader tries to move, established politicians move slowly. International cooperation has always been difficult. These days, all kinds of fake news and propaganda are spreading through social media, making cooperation more difficult.
Yes, the process will be, be messy. I guarantee you, every victory will be incomplete. We will face more setbacks. Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises because even if they don’t achieve everything we want, at least they advance the cause. At least they move the ball down the field. But if we work hard enough for long enough, those partial victories add up. If we push hard enough, stay focused enough and are smart about it, those victories accelerate. And they build momentum. If we listen to those who are resistant and we take their concerns seriously, and we work with them and we organize and we mobilize and we get our hands dirty in the difficulties of changing political dynamics in our countries, those victories start happening a little bit more frequently. If we stay with it, we will get this done.
that’s right. The process will be full of troublesome things. I can assure you, any ‘victory’ we get will be an incomplete victory. Plus, you’ll get frustrated many times. Sometimes there will come a moment when you have to make an unfinished compromise even by force. We can’t satisfy everything we want, but for reasons such as ‘Are there at least some progress’ and ‘At least they brought the ball to the field’. But if we work hard and long, those imperfect, piece by piece victories will pile up. If we keep pushing, we’re focused enough, and we’ve got a good grasp of this trend, the victories will pile up faster. If we listen to the voices of those fighting the climate crisis, understand what they care about, and work with them, come together and join forces, then that will create momentum. There will be difficulties in the dynamics of politics that change every day, but if you work through them little by little, you will be able to achieve these small victories more often. That way, we can achieve our goals.
So to all the young people out there, as well as those of you who consider yourselves young at heart, I want you to stay angry. I want you to stay frustrated, but channel that anger, harness that frustration, keep pushing harder and harder, for more and more because that’s what’s required to meet this challenge. Gird yourself for a marathon, not a sprint, for solving a problem this big, this complex and this important has never happened all at once.
So I say to young people, of course, to those who consider themselves young. Keep getting angry. Don’t forget that frustration over and over again. But you have to show your anger and use your frustration to push harder and harder. Because only then can we face the immediate problem of climate change. In order to solve this complex, important, and large, never-before-seen problem, we must start with the mindset of running a marathon, not a sprint.
Since we’re in the Emerald Isles here, let me quote the bard, William Shakespeare, “What wound,” he writes, “did ever heal but by degrees.” Our planet has been wound by our actions. Those wounds won’t be healed today or tomorrow or the next, but they can be healed. By degrees. And if we start with that spirit, if each of us can fight through the occasional frustration and dread, if we pledge to do our part and then follow through on those commitments, I believe we can secure a better future. We have to. And what a profound and noble task to set for ourselves. I’m ready for the long haul if you are. So let’s get to work. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
I came to the emerald island of England, so let me quote a passage from William Shakespeare. “Where are the wounds that do not heal slowly?” Our planet has been hurt by our actions. The wound will not heal all of a sudden today, or tomorrow, or the next day. But obviously it can be better. Even very little. If we start with that belief, if we can fight through the frustrations and fears that often overwhelm us, if we promise to do our part, and if we keep those promises… We will be able to secure a better future. That’s the way it should be. This is the profound and sublime task entrusted to us. I am ready for this long and long mission. How are you? If you’re ready, let’s get started. thank you.
By Park Sang-wook, staff reporter [email protected]