Europe lays out battle plan for COP26 climate summit

(EurActiv, 28 Oct 2021) The European Union will aim to convince other countries to raise their climate ambition at the COP26 summit opening on Sunday in Glasgow. Here’s how.

The first milestone on the way to Glasgow is the G20 summit of the world’s largest economies, taking place on 30-31 October in Rome.

“These 20 largest economies also represent 80% of the emissions worldwide. And therefore we have a special responsibility to act,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who briefed journalists in Brussels on Thursday (28 October).

The G20 “will somehow be a pacemaker for the COP26,” von der Leyen explained, calling on world leaders in Rome to agree “credible commitments for decarbonisation to reach the goal of net zero mid-century”.

“We are not on track right now,” she warned. “We need sufficient commitments to really cut emissions this decade. Science is very clear on that. Science tells us it’s urgent.”

Raising ambition

Earlier this week, the United Nations published its 2021 Emissions Gap Report, warning that the planet faces a disastrous 2.7°C rise in temperature if national climate pledges are not stepped up.

World nations would shave carbon emissions by only about 7.5% by 2030 under current pledges, far less than the 45% cut scientists say is needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C, the UN report said.

While Europe, the US, Japan, and the UK have all stepped up their climate commitments ahead of Glasgow, other major emitters like India, China, Russia, and Australia are still lagging behind.

“These are all countries that can make a difference in terms of the overall emissions level in 2030, so for me this is a key test,” said Antony Froggatt from Chatham House, a UK think tank who spoke at a recent EURACTIV event.

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EurActiv, 28 Oct 2021: Europe lays out battle plan for COP26 climate summit