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COP26: Countries Sign New Agreement to Cut Emissions

November 16th, 2021: The 26th Conference of Parties of UNFCCC (COP26) held from 31st October to 12th November in Glasgow, failed to address the negative impacts of global temperature going above 1.5-degree Celsius.

The conference was attended by various delegates from the global south who had aimed to attain a novel solution to the ongoing climate crisis. However, observers from the civil society were kept away from negotiation halls, as well as many delegates were unable to attend the conference because of vaccine inequity.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the conference set the tone for every emerging economy, including India that are striving persistently to create a greener planet and practice sustainability, but feel cheated because of the hypocrisy of rich countries.

As per the Wall Street Journal, between 2013 and 2019, private and public climate investment never exceeded USD 75 billion from North to South. Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that countries that have not previously lived up to their promises made on climate investment and finance, must be pressured to do so.

Ashwini Prabha from Fiji mentioned that Chennai is already facing problems associated with climate change in the forms of unpredictable flooding and rains. At the same time, small island nations are sinking faster than the time period estimated by IPCC. She further stated that climate is not going to wait for political decisions and that this crisis is likely to become worse in the near future.

The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed this conference by a year, which, in turn, created issues for developing countries who had much more expectations from the COP of the UK.

Moreover, various world leaders signed a new climate change agreement that was created out of compromises on many fronts. It also includes a last-minute effort by India to phase out coal. Brandon Wu of Action Aid USA mentioned that in context of global equity, rich countries, such as the US are refusing to bolster fossil fuel phase out. India’s request would not only place most of the burden on these rich countries, but also not align with the Biden administration.

The newly developed agreement aims to accelerate developing countries’ goal to reduce emissions at a fast pace and help them to shift away from fossil fuels.

As negotiations and agreement signing happened in closed-door sessions, thousands of activists gathered outside to remind them the severe consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. Countries across the globe are aiming to cut emissions by 45% at the end of 2030. It would provide people with a chance to limit global warming by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. If the goal is not met, global warming is anticipated to surge by around 14% in the next nine years.

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