On October 31, representatives of around 200 countries are set to gather in Scotland for an annual U.N. conference on climate change. Central to their debate: progress on limiting global warming in the 2020s.
There is a growing popular consensus that there’s not a minute to lose in making such reforms. President Biden told the U.N. General Assembly in September that he would work with Congress to double funds to $11.4 billion annually to help needy nations deal with climate change.
Some key recent history
Glasgow summit key host, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said meeting already established global commitment of $100 billion a year in new investments is an essential objective as the debate continues.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that rich countries likely missed the $100 billion goal last year designed to help developing countries deal with climate change. Increased funding had grown by less than 2% in 2019.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sounded the alarm a month ago: “We have reached a tipping point on the need for action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought and is moving faster than we predicted. We must act now to prevent further irreversible damage”.
Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, said recently on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly in New York: “One central promise we heard was that developed countries would provide that $100 billion annually to help developing countries build greener economies and deal with climate-fueled catastrophes.”
Last month, Washington Post correspondent Steven Mufson and Brady Dennis noted that on his first day in office last January, President Biden re-joined the international climate treaty. He dispatched former Secretary of State John F. Kerry to “crisscross the globe in an effort to forge the most ambitious climate deal possible… and he is working to get Congress to approve a spending package that would include far-reaching climate actions.”
During the next two weeks, the BBC reports, “we can expect a flurry of new announcements. Many are expected to be very technical and general, such as:
*Making a faster switch to electric cars
*Speeding up the phasing out of coal power
*Pledges to cut down fewer trees, globally
At the conclusion of the Glasgow summit in mid-November, the BBC reports, every participating country will be required to sign on, and some sort of declaration is expected.
Many observers will be watching to see how quickly China and other major fossil fuel producers will be willing to reduce their dependence on them. The United States has been relatively successful since 2010 in relying on less coal mining and production.
As the BBC concludes: “Some commitments made in Glasgow could directly affect our lives around the planet.” Let’s hope for significant reforms.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More