Shall We Clear The Air? Dialogues on climate change.

A decisive moment in the fight against climate change. 

On 30 and 31 October 2021 the G20 leaders met in Rome for a two -day summit organized by the Italian Presidency of the G20. The EU was represented by Charles Michel, president of the European Council, and by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. During these two days  The leaders discussed multiple topics, including the main topic of discussion was: the fight against climate change.

At the end of the G20, leaders regarding the theme of the fight against climate change have agreed to:

  • Maintain the goal of limiting global warming at 1.5 degrees compared to pre -industrial levels;
  • Accelerate their actions aimed at achieving zero net greenhouse emissions worldwide or carbon donation by mid -century or around that date;
  • Reiterate the commitment of the developed countries on the climate funding that provides for the joint mobilization of 100 billion USD per year and welcome new commitments by some members of the G20.
Now let's see the main topics of discussion.


Climate and energy

The G20 leaders committed themselves to working together to guarantee the success of the United Nations Conference on the climate (COP 26), which began in Glasgow (United Kingdom) on November 1st immediately after the top of the G20. They reiterated their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on Climate Changes (UNFCCC) and the Paris agreement. The G20 leaders observed that to maintain the goal of limiting global warming at 1.5 degrees at hand, a significant and actual action and commitment will be needed by all countries, taking into account the different approaches.


Biodiversity and environment

The G20 leaders have committed themselves to intensifying the actions aimed at arresting and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. They will use to ensure that at least 30% of the global surface and at least 30% of the oceans and global seas are preserved either protected by 2030 and the members will help to progress in achieving this objective according to national circumstances. The leaders urged other countries to combine their forces with those of the G20 to achieve the indicative objective of planting a thousand billion trees by 2030, involving the private sector and civil society.



The G20 leaders expressed profound concern about the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis, especially in developing countries. They reaffirmed their commitment in favor of a global response aimed at accelerating progress towards the realization of sustainable development objectives and to support a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery all over the world. The leaders have committed themselves to intensifying their actions aimed at implementing the Action Plan of the G20 on the 2030 agenda and the support of the G20 to the post-covid-19 response and recovery in developing countries. They also reiterated their constant support for African countries through a series of initiatives, such as the G20 pact with Africa.

Given the decisions taken by the main world leaders on the occasion of the G20, let's focus now on the Glasgow conference also called Cop 26, which began on November 1, 2021, the day after the conclusion of the G20.



What is the COP 26?

COP 26 is the United Nations Conference on the climate change of 2021.

For almost three decades, the UN has brought together almost all the Earth countries for the global top of the climate, called COP, or "Conference of the parties". 

The COP21 was held in Paris in 2015.  For the first time something epochal succeeded: all the countries agreed to collaborate to limit the increase in global temperature well below 2 degrees, aiming to limit it at 1.5 degrees. In addition, the countries undertook to adapt to the impacts of climate change and mobilize the funds necessary to achieve these objectives. 

Thus was born the Paris agreement. 

The countries agreed that every five years would present an updated plan that reflected their maximum possible ambition at that moment. Since then climate change has passed since being a marginal question to become a global priority. 

This year, just in these days, the annual summit is being held on the 26th, hence the name Cop 26. The COP 26 this year is chaired by the United Kingdom that hosts her in Glasgow. In view of the COP 26, the United Kingdom worked with each country to reach an agreement on how to deal with climate change. The world leaders who arrived in Scotland are more than 190. Thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens have joined them for twelve days of negotiations.



The main objectives of COP 26 can be summarized in four points, let's see together what they are:

  1. Ensure the net zero of global CO2 by 2050 and maintain the global temperature at 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. Countries are asked to present ambitious objectives to reduce methane gas emissions of 30% for 2030 which align with the achievement of the net zero by the middle of the century.
To achieve these ambitious objectives, the countries must:
  • Accelerate the gradual elimination of coal;
  • Reduce the deforestation, one hundred nations in the world, which represent 85% of the global forest surface have decided that they will stop the route of the deforestation;
  • Accelerate the transition to electric vehicles;
  • Encourage investments in renewables.

2. Adapt to protect the communities and natural habitats. The climate is already changing and will continue to change even if we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP 26 we discussed how to work together to allow and encourage the countries affected by climate change to:

  • Protect and restore ecosystems;
  • Build defenses, alarm and infrastructure systems and resilient agriculture to avoid loss of houses, means of subsistence and even human lives.
3.  Mobilize finance. To achieve the first two objectives, the developed countries must keep their promise to mobilize at least $ 100 billion per year in financing for the climate, international financial institutions must do their part and you have to work to free the trillions of funding from the Public and private sector necessary to guarantee global net zero.


 4. Collaborate. Yes They can face the challenges of the climatic crisis only by working together. The collaboration between governments, companies and civil societies is of fundamental importance to face the climatic crisis. China and the United States on November 10 finally found understood in Cop 26 in which Xi Jinping did not participate in person, attracting the criticisms of Joe Biden. Usa and China are divided on many issues, but on the fight against climate change they have no choice, if not collaborate. A turning point after the braking of India and Saudi Arabia.

We are now at the showdown, the final phase of the conference. If at the beginning of the conference for the climate, in fact, good intentions are generally expressed and the foundations on which to start the works are evaluated, in the second part instead the most difficult decisions must be made, and undertaken concrete political actions. It is decided how the objectives in charge will be achieved, agreements are signed and you choose whether to make them binding. Some of these objectives have already been achieved, such as the agreement on deforestation, already signed by over one hundred countries. But now that you get to the final jokes also on the other objectives, here is to the COP 26 clashes, disagreements and problems.


One of the most important news of the past few hours was Barack Obama's presence in Glasgow. The former president of the United States made a highly appreciated and commented speech in which among other things he criticized his predecessor Donald Trump, for having unilaterally decided to leave the Paris agreements, and defined disappointing the absence of the Chinese president XI Jinping and the Russian one Vladimir Putin. Obama also said young people have the right to be angry.

Among the reactions to the speech, however, there were also those critical ones, of an important part of activism. Like the Ugandan Vanessa Nakate who, twitting a twelve -year -old video of an Obama himself, underlined how his promises of 100 billion dollars for funding to the ecological transition were disregarded. Nakate also launched a special hashtag, #Showusthemoney, which echoes Greta Thunberg, according to which those of politicians are only chatter. Literally, of the "blah blah blah". In this regard, during the COP 26 on November 5, a demonstration in the streets of Glasgow was launched by the Fridays for Future where more than 30,000 people were there and on November 6 the Climate Day of Action where 250,000 people showed up.


Is the goal of maintaining temperatures reachable? Difficult to say. On the one hand it is true that now the countries that have committed themselves to reaching carbon neutrality are so many as to be equivalent to 90% of the world economy. In the event that all the recent commitments made by the International Community for the reduction of emissions were respected then it will be possible to maintain the terrestrial temperature at about +1.8 ° compared to pre -industrial levels. The aim of maintaining it within +1.5 ° would therefore be disregarded, but considering that scientists recommend a containment within +2 ° would still be excellent news!


"I think having the earth and not ruining it is the most beautiful art form you could wish for." Andy Warhol.


Thanks for reading the article and see you next time!

Simona Danos

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