After the failure of Copenhagen in 2009 and the success of Paris in 2015, the Glasgow Summit brings progress that does not solve the problem but allows a positive assessment, at least in historical perspective. The hard-to-reach agreement between nearly 200 states achieves progress in both mitigation and adaptation. In the first section, it introduces the sense of urgency, demanded from social and scientific spheres, by placing the update of the emission reduction plans ahead of schedule, to next year, instead of postponing them to 2030. It also takes a step, although timid, in ambition, to mention fossil fuels for the first time to bet on reducing the “inefficient” subsidies they receive. For their part, adaptation policies, at last, give a qualitative leap with a commitment to double in 2025 the funds to developing countries so that they can carry them out, and a mechanism of aid is proposed for losses and damages caused. for climate change.
These advances are joined by those of a sectoral nature on forests, coal, cars, methane or the end of financing fossil fuels abroad, among others. The agreement between China and the United States, the first two CO2 emitters, is of special relevance because without a minimum commitment from both it is not feasible to continue pursuing the goal of 1.5ºC of global warming. The United Nations has also shown signs of impatience with the private sector. The announcement of the creation of a mechanism for evaluating companies’ statements about their emission reductions sends a clear signal that they have tired of the Greenwashing, that is, the green face wash that many companies have been practicing.
So far, what has been achieved: it is not a radical change nor does it invite any optimism, but it is a way of creating support instruments to advance on the necessary path. The pending objective is still difficult and no one has the solution to harmonize the necessary measures in each area of the planet and in accordance with each development situation. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, even if all the countries complied with the presented emission reduction plans, the expected increase would be 1.8ºC, clearly above the 1.5 limit demanded by scientific consensus. On the other hand, developing countries will continue to find it very difficult to adopt sustainable paths if the international community does not fulfill its financial commitments. In addition, Article 6 that regulates carbon markets is far from adjusting the mechanism to be both useful and fair, and that is an urgent task for future meetings.
Glasgow is not the emergency agreement the planet needs, but it is not easy to know how to get a more ambitious one. In an issue where geostrategic, economic and political interests are intertwined, states will only advance to the extent that they have no other option. Neither scientific evidence nor social pressure have yet managed to make more drastic measures work their way to multiply financial flows towards the green economy and thus embody, in a categorical way, the importance of the fight against climate change.