Vulnerable countries issue urgent calls to action as big emitters drag their heels

(The Energy Mix, 1 Nov 2021) Vulnerable countries’ urgent calls for global climate action collided with disappointing news from a handful of major carbon polluters as delegates gathered over the weekend for this year’s high-stakes UN climate conference, COP 26, in Glasgow.

“It’s a make-or-break time for the world,” wrote veteran climate advocate Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, India. “Science has already spoken about the dire emergency that stares us in the face,” but “we no longer need scientists to tell us this. We can see the devastation in our world—every day there is news about another region that has faced an extreme weather catastrophe. As I write this, my mind is numbed by images from the northern Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand and the southern state of Kerala, where mountains have crashed and lives and homes have been lost.”

Last week, the Globe and Mail reported that leaders from hard-hit African countries were planning a tougher line on negotiations in Glasgow. Gabon is leading the continent’s negotiating team, and Environment Minister Lee White “is readying an arsenal of arguments” about the importance of his country’s forests—as a catalyst for rainfall across much of the continent, and a resource for preventing widespread drought that would in turn trigger a wave of migration out of the region and war within.

“One of the problems we have in the climate negotiations is the skepticism among African countries and others because of a whole series of promises that haven’t been honoured,” White said. “The biggest problem in the negotiations is the lack of confidence between the developed and developing nations.”

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The Energy Mix, 1 Nov 2021: Vulnerable countries issue urgent calls to action as big emitters drag their heels