Experts pronounce on ‘Big Deal’ statement – Community News
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Experts pronounce on ‘Big Deal’ statement

Climate experts have expressed their verdict on the surprising joint announcement made on Wednesday by the US and China, hailing the statement as “a big deal” while expressing hopes the two nations can “use their superpower status to pave the way.” pointing out for other countries.”

In their joint statement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the world’s two most polluting countries agreed on the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 percent this century. degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Among the highlights of the statement were Beijing and Washington to work together to develop measures to reduce methane emissions, to establish a “Working Group on Improving Climate Action in the 2020s”, and that they would working together on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which governs the devilishly complex field of international carbon markets.

Furthermore, the document notes: “China will phase out coal consumption during the 15th five-year plan” [from 2026 to 2030] and make every effort to accelerate this work.”

Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told Forbes Sustainability, “I think the US-China agreement is indeed a big deal. Yes, we need a lot more detail. But in particular, the agreement to phase out coal is big, as neither side was willing to make such a commitment a week ago.”

Mann said he believed the statement was partly the result of pressure from activists, but also that the two rivals had once again shown that they could put their differences aside when it came to the climate crisis.

“In large part, we can thank the continued pressure from youth activists and others calling for more action for this development. But let’s also recognize the importance of global diplomacy in good faith,” Mann said, pointing out that “it was a bilateral agreement between the US and China in 2014 that laid the groundwork for the Paris agreement in 2015.”

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“Now we must bring [carbon emissions] dropped significantly, by 50% this decade, and a commitment by the world’s two largest emitters to work together in good faith portends meaningful progress toward achieving that goal,” Mann said. To give up the COP process, as some activists have suggested, now is the time for us to continue to put pressure on our elected representatives. It really pays off.”

Meanwhile, Laurence Wainwright, departmental lecturer at Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, welcomed the explanation for what it represented.

“As long as words are backed by actions, the US-China joint statement could be a real turning point; not only in terms of the results of COP26, but more broadly for global leadership on climate and nature. If the two biggest emitters – whose relationship has been strained to say the least for the past ten years – are willing to work together, it sends a strong signal to the rest of the world.”

Given the lack of clear, point-by-point objectives in the statement, Wainwright suggested it wasn’t the letter of the agreement that could make the difference, but rather the spirit.

“It may be that the biggest benefits come not from the statement itself, but rather from what it symbolizes and sets a precedent: that keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius requires unprecedented global cooperation, even between countries that otherwise have tense relations. have,” he said. said. “The US and China have the opportunity here to move from climate laggards to leaders and use their superpower status to lead the way for other countries.”

Wainwright added that he thought the statement could also help change things for the COP26 climate summit itself, which is now drawing to a close and has been criticized by campaigners for a lack of results — and especially for what many see as a lackluster draft decision , the single most important document summarizing the agreements reached at the conference.

“The [U.S.-China] statement surprised many and came as a real surprise – a welcome one, too,” Wainwright noted. “This may well be the turning point of COP26; and not a moment too soon as we enter the critical final days.”

“Let’s hope the meeting between Xi Jinping and Biden, scheduled for next week, marks the beginning of a new era of climate cooperation,” he added.

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Myles Allen, a professor of geosystems science at the University of Oxford, focused on including in the statement a pledge to work together on carbon capture methods.

“Great to see how carbon capture and storage, both from flues and from the atmosphere itself, is being highlighted as an area where the US and China plan to work together,” Allen said. “To meet our climate goals, we must stop global warming before the world stops using fossil fuels, and that means safe removal of CO2 must become one of the great industries of the 21st century. Is this an industry that the UK and Europe will join?”

Observers are waiting to see what final changes can be made to the draft decision text of COP26, prepared by the UK presidency of the conference, but comprising statements from all participating countries. Many climate researchers are scathing about the document. Lisa Schipper, an environmental and social science researcher at the Environmental Change Institute in Oxford, took the design’s recommendation for countries to strengthen their carbon reduction targets by the end of 2022, saying the goal was: ” insane – it’s way too late! We need commitments by the end of this year and action to make an impact by the end of 2022.”

Environmental and humanitarian charities have been no less caustic in their assessment of the design. In a statement that echoes the tone of many of the responses from civil society groups, Tracy Carty, head of Oxfam’s COP26 delegation, said the text was “too weak. It does not respond to the climate emergency that millions of people are now facing, living in unprecedented extreme weather and pushed further into poverty.”

The COP26 summit ends on Friday 12 November.