SO COP26 ( the 26th Conference of the Parties ) Conference on Climate Change , held on Oct 31-Nov 12 , 2021 , which went into overtime to Nov 13 , is over and done with . It was touted to be “ The last best chance ” for the global community to make the necessary more ambitious commitments to realise the objective of limiting the global temperature rise due to climate change to “ below 20C , and preferably to 1.50C ”, by the end of this century , as was agreed under The Paris Agreement ( PA ) in 2015 .
Did COP 26 achieve its ambitious , lofty targets ?
The best that can be said about COP26 is that it was neither an unmitigated success nor an unmitigated failure , even though teenage activist Greta Thunberg , the driving force and catalyst behind the global “ Fridays For Future ” youth movement termed it a “ Blah blah blah failure ” about halfway through the conference .
This was even before the more serious and meaningful discussions , and debates had started in earnest .
The following may be a biased assessment of the conference when considered against the eventually spelt out outcomes . Nevertheless , Thunberg ' s judgment is justified when we believe that today ' s global youth ( including Malaysians ) have to face the adverse consequences of the climate change crisis .
They will be global citizens over the coming decades . They will have to live with the possible “ Armagedon-like ” impact of the worldwide climate variability that is anticipated if the desired 50 per cent carbon reduction is not achieved by 2030 .
Nevertheless , it is not all doom and gloom . There were some success stories from COP26 , though they were nowhere near the needed ambitious commitments , and desired to achieve the lofty goals set in the Paris Agreement of 2015 .
Some of the noteworthy ones are as follows :
• Forest preservation - 137 countries agreed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 .
• Methane emission reductions - 103 countries committed to a “ Global Methane Pledge ” to reduce their methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 from their 2020 levels .
• Financial support for developing countries - The affluent , more developed “ western ” countries acknowledged they had not delivered on the Paris Agreement commitment to contribute US $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to the developing countries , but expressed their confidence to meet the said target by 2023 .
• Coal fired power generation - COP26 agreed to “ phase down ( instead of phase out )” the use of coal for power generation , not by 2050 ( as had been hoped for ) but by up to a couple of decades later by the largest coal-fired generation users ( such as China , India , Indonesia and South Africa ). Considerations : The affluent and more developed “ western ” countries
had gained their current dominant status on the use of coal as a primary energy source for the better part of the last two centuries . Therefore , it is hypocritical for them to impose restrictions on the less affluent developing countries to use the same coal for their economic development . It is more so when the current coal-fired power plants are far more efficient and “ clean ” than the plants used over the last two centuries .
• Automobiles ( cars ) - Some of the major automobile manufacturers and countries have established policies to transition to “ zero emission ” products and to ban the registration of fossilfuelled ICE ( Internal Combustion Engined ) vehicles between 2035 and 2040 . Consideration : The claim of “ zero mission ” is misleading as even BEVs ( Battery EVs ) may not be zero-emission , except in a few isolated countries
( such as Costa Rica , Iceland , Norway ) which have almost 100 per cent RE power generation , while most other countries have yet to transition their power generation to RE . Globally , about 70 per cent of electricity is produced from fossil fuels .
The burden to fight the future climate crisis thus falls on today ' s youth , as the older national leaders have failed , over the last few decades , to ensure that we leave our offsprings a naturally and environmentally conducive and healthy planet for them and their descendants .
The good news is that the youth in most countries , including Malaysia , are sincere and passionate CSO ( Civil Society Organisation ) and environmental activists . They have the opportunity to take on the prevailing government entities and create the “ natural , regenerative planet ” for themselves and their offspring . — @ Green
LAL ‘ S CHAT
BY G . LALCHAND