Headlines this morning. Last night for me was surreal. I had survived the pandemic thus far relatively intact. Aside from my teeth being neglected and with a throbbing tooth and an abcess due to my dentist being stretched, social distancing and a very small practice where they couldn’t see as many patients as they wanted to.
So the few hours before my appointment at the local hospital to see the consultant who would eventually take my tooth out I watched the concluding sessions of COP 26 live in Glasgow from the United Nations website. Trying to understand what was going on there.
As Carl Rogers said ‘The facts are friendly’. Trying to believe this and not to despair I got my brain into gear and listened to the interventions of around ten countries. Some delegates looked as if they would burst into tears at any moment. Some showed photographs on their phones of their children and grandchildren and said they couldn’t possibly walk out ’empty-handed’. That is without a measured and meaningful agreement that was unanimous. All of them thanked the delegates and COP 26 chair for all their hard work. Some pointed out that what we saw there at COP 26 was a fraction of the work done over hours, weeks and years previously. Perhaps lifetimes, I’m sure.
I felt like it was all on a knife edge. Wished I had listened to the live feed before directly from the U.N. I might have understood better. This is though, the fractured jist of what I understood so far. Through the discomfort of a tooth abscess and whilst being grateful that I had a hospital appointment to tackle it, something which was more than likely lacking for many from the countries whose interventions I was listening to. Basic health care disrupted and ravaged by extremes of weather already and the pandemic in many places.
The interventions from delegates I heard speaking included Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Gabon, Bolivia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Butan, Australia, Grenada, the U.S. the Maldives, Brasil, Turkey, Brasil and the Phillipines.
All noteworthy and polished speakers, of course they have to be as everything they said was scrutinised immediately by the rest of the world in an instant in the live internet stream.
Many speakers referred to needing to ‘get on the Glasgow train’ and to ‘keep 1.5 alive’.
So the next year will be important and crucial as the ‘Glasgow train’ agreement will be bound for Egypt (COP27) in a year’s time. It will be a year as I understand it in the agreement that has been ratified today will need to be checked on by the general public and organisations alike, to give it the meaning it deserves and ensure that this voluntary agreement is acted on appropriately.
The 1.5 refers to a minimum rise in temperature for the planet that is precautionary.
My comments today seem ridiculously simplistic and basic. However I do believe that many of us struggle to understand the complexity of the issues at hand and so I hope in struggling to get my own head around this I may be of some albeit limited service to others who might be trying to do the same.
My own commitment to myself and to this is that I aim to keep this blog going for a year. The time in which the ‘Glasgow train’ COP26 takes to arrive in Egypt COP27.
Points that stood out for me in the interventions made by these countries out mentioned in note form here with the country delegate that said them. The comments are obviously selective and with my own bias:
Urged all countries to ‘board the Glasgow train’.
‘We have embarked on the promise of the Glasgow train’.
‘Our response should not depend on politics…or (the prospect of) potential re-election’.
‘We thank friends…Glasgow ends today…work begins on 1.5’.
ANTINGUA and BARBUDA
We have a ‘package in front of us’. Acknowledged the immense work and effort that delegates had made getting to Glasgow, some delegates travelling for ‘up to five days’ to get to Glasgow.
Referred to impact of Climate Change on ‘homes and cultures’ pointed out several aspects in the litigation section that are currently wanting as well as elements of ‘loss and damage’ mitigation that ‘aren’t there’.
Referred to a ‘consensus’ that ‘needs to be supported’.
But also that ‘compromises’ had been made in the areas of ‘loss and damage’.
Referred to challenges of the task holding this work ‘in the middle of a pandemic’
Asked the question: ‘Can we go back to our communities with nothing?’ Answered that was not an option.
We cannot afford ‘no progress’.
1.5 referred to as a ‘lifeline’. Questions about the need to look at fossil fuel subsidies again. Double financing for adaptation.
Climate change already transforming physical environment.
GABON – (West coast of Africa)
Africa risks being ‘destabilised’ by climate change which is already ‘a matter of life and death’ for people on this continent.
At the same time Africa at the forefront of mitigation measures with it’s ‘nature-based solutions’.
Emphasised the ‘very significant’ but ‘nonetheless voluntary commitments of COP26’.
Formulating a ‘collective goal on finance’, including mitigation, loss and damage.
‘Africa’s red line ‘ had already been crossed.
Pointing out that a ‘moral commitment’ was needed.
‘The impossibility of ‘achieving 1.5 for developed countries by 2050’
Due to developed countries continuing to use (more than their fair share) of the globe’s carbon budget.
‘They need to reduce emissions now’
‘It’s about the life of the people…education…enforcing commitment…in developed world’.
‘We refuse to get trapped in the carbon colonialism’.
‘Powerful and rich countries…still refusing…to provide financial support…need to address historical responsibilities’.
We need to ‘raise ambition for adaptation’.
What was on the table was a ‘possible package’
Spoke of ‘outcomes of loss and damage’ in Himalayas, Peru, Chile, Columbia
‘Keep 1.5 alive’
Appreciates efforts of chair and all staff to ‘take us over the (finish) line’ on this agreement.
Referred to Climate Finance directly and ‘100 billion dollar goal’
‘the text on the table makes us all uncomfortable…but it should…(the process is) …difficult but necessary’.
‘Glasgow was not the destination’. Need to adopt text. ‘Failure is not an option’.
‘…continue to fight until the job is done’.
We ‘can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’ (meaning we must accept and ratify a joint agreement which reflects shared goal.
‘not everyone in public life gets to make decisions about life and death’ (but delegates are doing exactly that here.
‘keep 1.5 alive’
Progress made is not ‘about the lack of science’. The science is there.
It will be ‘too late for the Maldives’
We have 98 months to half global emissions.