The Covid-19 crisis struck just as we had come to realize greater awareness of the climate crisis and the vital importance of changing course towards global warming below 1.5 ° C and restoring global loss of biodiversity. But will we see the ambition needed at COP15 on biodiversity in China in October, and at COP26 in Glasgow in November?
The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for our world, and it has not affected countries in the same way. Developing countries, with weaker health systems and many of whose health workers migrate to richer countries, have suffered a huge burden of death and disease. This is now compounded by inequitable access to vaccines.
The Covid-19 crisis struck just as we had come to realize greater awareness of the climate crisis and the vital importance of changing course towards a 1.5 ° C world and restoring loss world biodiversity. But will we see the ambition needed at COP15 on biodiversity in China in October, and at COP26 in Glasgow in November?
There is a link between inequitable access to vaccines and the creation of real urgency in decision-making at COPs. I saw this before and during the Paris Climate Agreement. I had the honor of being the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on climate change before the Paris Agreement, and saw how it was possible to achieve the new Paris target of stay well below 2˚ and work for 1.5.
It wouldn’t have happened just because the US and China agreed that we would have a successful COP in Paris. There was no consensus on the reference to 1.5 in the text.
As Special Envoy, I attended informal ministerial meetings upstream of Paris, during which I heard Tony de Brum, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Marshall Islands, repeat the urgency of preventing his small islands do not disappear and his country is no longer sovereign.
In the streets of Paris, indigenous peoples, young people and civil society marched with the mantra “1.5 to stay alive”.
An ambitious coalition was formed at the start of the Paris conference, led by Tony de Brum but including the United States and the European Union, among others. His goal was to get 1.5 in the text, and luckily he did it.
Why was this important? Because the Paris Climate Agreement had to ask the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to study the difference between 1.5˚ and 2˚ of warming above pre-industrial standards and advise if the world should stay at 1.5˚.
This is what the IPCC reported in October 2018, making it clear that the entire world must stay at or below 1.5 warming, and that this requires a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 and zero emissions. net by 2050. This report has changed the sense of urgency about the climate discussion and it would not have happened without small island states, poorest countries, indigenous peoples and civil society.
The concern is that if vaccines are not sufficiently available in developing countries before the COPs in October and November, the voices demanding the urgency may not be able to be there.
Given the lack of leadership from the richest countries today, both on reducing their emissions and on climate finance pledged of $ 100 billion per year by 2020, this potential absence is a real concern and should lead the G7 and the G20 to ensure the achievement of Gavi COVAX’s anticipated market engagement target of one billion doses of vaccine to the world’s poorest countries by September 1, 2021, and more than two billion doses by mid-2022.
They are also expected to deliver the long-promised $ 100 billion per year in climate finance to vulnerable countries by COP26, with 50% of funds allocated to climate adaptation.
We must recognize the vital role played in Paris by those most affected by the climate crisis, and that their voices must be heard at COP15 and COP26 this year. DM
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This notice was published: 2021-06-09 20:12:15