Discouraging to see leaders of China, Russia absent at COP26: Barack Obama – Times of India

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GLASGOW: Noting that the world is not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis, former US president Barack Obama, one of the key architects of the Paris Agreement in 20-15, on Monday called out China and Russia for the absence of their respective presidents during the leaders’ summit at COP26 and took a swipe at former US President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw from the deal.
Taking on China and Russia, Obama said it was discouraging to see that the leaders of these big emitters had declined to attend the proceedings in Glasgow. Their national plans, so far, reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of those governments, and that’s a shame, he added.
On the Trump-era decision, Obama said, “Some of our progress stalled when my successor decided to unilaterally pull out of the Paris deal in his first year in office.” He made these remarks, while addressing the conference, in what could be an endorsement of what many developing countries have been flagging to blame the US for taking back whatever the progress made post-2015 global deal and ultimately slowing down the process both in terms of mitigation and financial support for adaptation.
The former US president, however, said efforts of states and local governments in the US were continuing to “keep moving forward despite hostility from the White House”.
Obama is learnt to be in Glasgow to give momentum to the unfinished agenda of the deal which may still not keep the world on 2°C rise pathways. Certain observers believe that the current updated goal of countries covering over 90% of the world economy may stop the rise below 2°C with International Energy Agency analysis showing that fully achieving all ‘net zero’ pledges to date and the global methane pledge would limit global warming to 1.8°C.
Others, however, believe that it may just be a conjecture at this stage as it won’t be clear until the UNFCCC analyses the new and updated nationally determined contributions which have not yet been submitted by many countries. For example, Brazil has announced ‘net zero’ goal, but it has not even indicated its measures. Similarly, ‘net zero’ goal of Australia is not backed by numbers (mitigation trajectory) which could match its announcement.
Though India too has not yet submitted its NDC, the country has, at least, announced its short term plan (till 2030) backed by concrete emission reduction targets through multiple measures to reach long-term goals.
“PM Modi’s speech at COP26 pledging strong action by India with five new targets can deliver on both economic development and climate change,” said Nicholas Stern, Prof of Economics and Government & Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE.
Speaking at India’s delegation office on India’s announcement of 2070 net zero goal and other targets, he said, “It was a very special moment in Indian history and indeed history of the world. This is the beginning of a huge era of opportunities, innovations and investment.”





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