What to expect after COP26:“compensation” from developed countries
In COP26, countries agreed to keep the planet to the crucial 1.5 degree Celsius threshold. Also, it broke new ground in creating a worldwide consensus to transition away from fossil fuels and to speed up countries' ambitions to cut emissions faster.
However, India and China, two of the world's largest coal consumers, insisted on a last-minute tweak in the pact's fossil fuel terminology, switching from "phase out" to "phase down." This prompted criticism for diluting the final agreement.
There is no doubt that this action did not cut emissions fast enough, but we also cannot deny that as developing countries dealing with their development agendas and poverty eradication, they were unable to keep this firm commitment, but they did their best to achieve their net-zero emissions goal.
The EU’s climate chief argued China declaring it wanted to “phase down” coal was significant given that it was, in his words, “still so dependent on coal.”
“That is quite something, so I wouldn’t belittle that,” he said. “Of course, the image is because China and India insisted so much on changing the formulation from phasing out to phasing down that they influenced in a negative way.” But he still stated that he wouldn’t be too critical of China, for China did contribute though he would have liked to have seen more .
China, as the world's greatest carbon dioxide emitter, has made its commitment and effort. Xi Jinping declared in September, 2020 that China will strive for carbon emission peak in 2030 carbon neutrality by 2060, with a goal of reaching peak emissions before 2030. Although China was said to be limiting the speed at which it might reduce emissions, time had witnessed its efforts.
According to the Renewables 2021 Global Status Report, China built over half of all renewable energy installations worldwide. From 2019 till now, it has nearly doubled its capacity. China has constructed the largest solar and wind farms in the world, generating more solar panels and wind turbines than any other country. During the past Double 11 Shopping Festival festival, Alibaba reduced carbon emissions by 26,000 tons by using more wind power and less electricity though liquid cooling technology in data centers.
Another tech giant Tencent have created an online meeting product Tencent Conference that managed to reduce carbon emissions by over 15 million tons since the time of its launch. As early as January 12 this year, Tencent started its carbon neutral plan, using technology to help achieve net-zero emissions, and launched the overall framework of Tencent Cloud's dual-carbon solution in alignment with the national carbon neutrality policy from the advantages it has in connectivity, data, intelligence, digital twins, IoT, etc.
In June 2021, Huawei and Informa Tech jointly proposed the Network Carbon Intensity (NCI) initiative, in which carbon emissions per bit of data is defined as a new metric for green networks to better manage and measure carbon reduction roadmaps.
Also, China and the US have agreed to boost climate co-operation over the next decade. While the announcement was reported as a surprise, this statement is a recognition of the urgency of action though China has been taking steps not quick enough to tackle its domestic coal emissions in the short term.
The announcement also signals that the United States is unwinding and no longer creating unexpected twists and turns. Following Trump's outing, Biden's re-entry sparked more anticipation about what the US will contribute to the COP26. Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, praised the joint agreement between China and the United States, but warned that both countries need to demonstrate stronger commitment to achieving climate goals. Greater commitment for China could mean cutting emissions faster; for the US, it could mean agreeing to and delivering large climate funding obligations.
Developing countries brought a firm message to the Glasgow summit: we're suffering from a problem we've done little to cause. They urged that wealthier countries compensate them for "loss and harm" caused by climate change. Scotland made the first donation to a loss and damage fund, of two million pounds, at the summit, a sign that many saw as paving the door for more governments to join in.
Since there have been so many droughts this year, the United States has also borne the cost of the destruction. Climate change is a global issue. The determination and action of industrialized countries with greater resources and capacity is recognized and expected.
At the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, a coalition has been formed. Amazon, Apple, Mahindra Group, and Dalmia Cement (Bharat) are among the founding members of the 'First Movers Coalition,' which aims to increase demand for zero-carbon solutions. The group's commitments are intended to be significant enough to commercialize decarbonization technology as a whole. Tech companies’ Coalition will have a long-term impact by investing in these technical solutions and we are expecting the setting milestones this decade.