It may seem like ages since the crucial two-week conference took place in Glasgow in November. At the end an agreement was reached – though not legally binding – to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. Some leaders and campaigners felt it did not go far enough.
As reported by the BBC, key discussions revolved around carbon dioxide emissions, coal, aid to developing countries and fossil fuel subsidies.
In order to prevent a “climate catastrophe,” representatives have agreed to keep the world temperature rise to 1.5C. At the current rate of activity, global warming would only be limited to 2.4C.
Countries agreed to only “phase out” the use of coal after a late intervention by China and India – two of its biggest users. Globally, coal is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions.
According to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the Glasgow climate deal is a “game-changing agreement” which sounds “the death knell for coal power.”
In response to critics reacting to China and India’s pressure on the wording about coal reduction, the Prime Minister stated, “We can lobby, we can cajole, we can encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do.”
Stepping away from the table, the US and China promised to work together in the next decade to switch to cleaner energy and reduce methane emissions. This was seen as a positive step for the world’s two biggest emitters of emissions.
For decades, developing countries have faced the brunt of climate change – rising coastal waters, droughts, and in some places, extensive flooding. In the past, richer nations pledged money to help their poorer counterparts but this was never met. With a louder voice, developing nations demanded grants, loans, and private investment to support changes required for infrastructure and agriculture in order to cope.
As a result, the following financial pledges were made:
- By 2024, the US has pledged $11.4 billion per year by 2024 with an additional $3 billion targeted toward climate adaptation
- Between 2020 and 2025, both the UK and Canada will double its climate finance to £11.6 billion and $5.3 billion respectively
- To reduce emissions in Asia, Japan has committed to $0 billion over the next five years
- Norway will triple its adaptation finance, Australia will double its contribution while Spain will increase their pledge by 50% to $1.5 billion a year from 2025.
Find out more about these far-reaching issues and agreements here.