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Multilateralism and climate crisis: the challenging path towards Glasgow’s Cop 26

The severe and remote episodes in Germany, Canada, California, Siberia and Italy highlighted the gravity of the issue related to climate changes, underlining the need for a fast and decisive action, especially coordinated on an international scale, able to definitely overcome the problem, until it will be too late and an unchangeable process [1].

To this extent, the attention is mostly upon the activities carried out by the European Union that, with the settlement of the Commission guided by Ursula Von der Leyen, seems to have put the climate issue at the centre of their policies. An example of this new course is given by the European Green Deal’s planning, made up of more than 50 measures and aimed at reaching the climate neutrality by 2050 [2]. It’s an effort that will be oriented and reinforced even by the project created during emergency times: Next Generation EU, which placed the energy transition and the digitalization at the centre of the recovery path [3].

It is evident from this that the EU, but also the USA, are moving towards planning, in quick time, effective measures to overcome the issue concerning climate changes.

The nullifying question is, however, another one: how to effectively reach the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, without an increase in temperatures within 1.5° degrees.

In this context, the perspective radically changes, especially because the strong effort to switch a trend, which seems to be already marked, should be carried out simultaneously on a global level, by all the players involved. At such times the need for a comparison and multilateralism is placed at the centre, as a way to reach compromises in terms of climate changes.

Analyzing the events of the last months, especially the future ones, what comes out is a whole context surrounded by interesting elements; while, on one hand, the important appointment of the COP 26 seems to be a unique moment to set the basis for a collective and essential effort; on the other hand, the premises of the last G20 on climate, which took place in Italy, freeze these expectations.

The background represented during the summit in Naples is extremely clear: there are strong differences among the ones that took part, as shown by the final release [4]. The references to the carbon, but especially to the efforts set in Paris in 2015, are almost totally absent in the document, this is a primary aspect that shows where a split, difficult to overcome, grows. If the attention is placed on China, also because of geopolitical reasons, considering the systematic contraposition with the United States, the role of India and Brazil will not be subordinate, but also of the countries that produce fossil fuels such as Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada.

In front of this context, which is not extremely reassuring, the attention is placed on the negotiations that will take place in Glasgow, where Italy is the co-organizer, but this last one is said to reach this appointment, where diplomacy will play an essential role, little prepared. Indeed, the choice of the representative (that at the moment seems to be Monica Frassoni) is doubtful, while a negotiation by the two super powers, China and USA, is announced. These ones will respectively send two pieces by ninety of the international chessboard, like Xie Zhenhuan and John Kerry [5].

The UN Climate Change Conference will be more influenced also by the analysis published by the international institutions, like International Energy Agency, that in the last months spoke about the current and warning situation through the report “Net zero by 2050. A Roadmap for the Global energy Sector” [6], and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which has recently published one [7] of the 3 reports aimed at the release of these months, and which sets up a scenery extremely compromised, where the policies that will be adopted in the next months may be the last change to save the planet [8]. It’s necessary to remind that the effort of the IPCC, with its impulse, gave an essential move to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement [9].

For this reason, the next COP of Glasgow will be an event plenty of expectations for the future, where the effective willingness of the countries to set actions to stop the Climate Change will be measured; indeed, it will be necessary to put the topics that at the G20 were considered marginally, or not at all, at the centre of the discussion. Among these, the efforts to contain the temperature at 1.5°; net of the available data of today, the threshold limit will be reached well in advance than predicted, especially between 2034 and 2040 (the estimates today, indeed, show an internal level at +1.1° with respect to the preindustrial levels).

The first effort, to this extent, will deal with the presentation of Ndc (National Determined Contribution) concerning 2030 more ambitious, a pressing topic where the European Union and the United States will represent themselves as driving countries, taking into account the triumphal program of its efforts in the last months.

For the EU, indeed, a decrease by 55% of the emissions by 2030 has already been set, while for the USA by 50% with respect to 2005, the accession date of the Paris Agreement. They are two objectives, announced in a thunderous way, which, however, raised a lot of criticism, especially in Europe, where there was a strong desire to make efforts in a more effective way [10].

But the big question, obviously, will concern the efforts of countries like China and India, which at the moment, together with Brazil, Russian Federation, New Zealand, are unknown.

The same attention will be given to the notorious article 6 of the Paris Agreement, considering the big failure of the last Cop in Madrid, and which should formalize a way that sets a bigger collaboration between countries, with the purpose of reducing emissions. The way is concretely based on the possibility of “changing” the CO2 reductions, by calculating as their own the reductions interventions in other countries, thanks to the financial help, especially where the efforts of mitigation are more expensive. An excellent moment for Europe and the USA to increase their targets, by participating, for instance, in developing countries [11].

The meeting of the next November in Glasgow will be one of the last chances to deal with the climate issue in a decisive way, taken into account the catastrophes to which the humankind is going against, but it will also be important to show that multilateralism and the international cooperation represent the unique ways to face up to the future problems, avoiding systematic contrapositions that often lead to a few advantages, at the expense of big damages.

[1] https://www.corriere.it/pianeta2020/21_luglio_27/clima-fenomeni-catastrofici-quanto-pesa-surriscaldamento-globale-c-anche-jet-stream-712ce188-eead-11eb-b948-65ef1640acca.shtml

[2] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:b828d165-1c22-11ea-8c1f-01aa75ed71a1.0006.02/DOC_1&format=PDF

[3] https://europa.eu/next-generation-eu/index_it

[4] https://www.g20.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021_07_22_ITG20_ENV_Final.pdf

[5] https://www.editorialedomani.it/ambiente/il-governo-si-e-scordato-di-nominare-linviato-per-i-vertici-sul-clima-ta45te5s

[6] https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

[7] https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/

[8] https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/

[9] https://www.lavoce.info/archives/89030/cop-26-e-g20-un-percorso-ancora-da-disegnare/

[10] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/it/press-room/20201002IPR88431/legge-ue-sul-clima-aumentare-obiettivo-di-riduzione-emissioni-per-2030-al-60

[11] https://altreconomia.it/contributi-volontari-e-meccanismi-di-scambio-lagenda-sul-clima-in-vista-della-cop26/


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  • L'Autore

    Tiziano Sini

    Tiziano Sini dopo aver conseguito la laurea triennale in Scienze politiche presso la facoltà "Cesare Alfieri" di Firenze, si specializza presso la Luiss "Guido Carli" di Roma in Relazioni Internazionale con una tesi in Economia Europea sull'analisi dell'European Green Deal e la relazione con le politiche promosse dal Next Generation Eu.

    Da sempre appassionato di politica nazionale ed internazionale, con uno sguardo sempre rivolto alla dimensione economica.

    All'interno di Mondo Internazionale ricopre la carica di autore occupandosi di tematiche europee.

    Tiziano Sini after having obtained the Bachelor's Degree in Political Science at faculty "Cesare Alfieri" of Florence, majored at Luiss "Guido Carli" of Rome in International Relations with dissertation in European Economy on the analysis of the European Green Deal and the relationship with policies promoted by the Next Generation Eu.

    He was always been passionate about national and international politics, always looking at the economic dimension.

    In the context of Mondo Internazionale he holds the position of author dealing with European affairs.


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Sections International Organizations European Union 2030 Agenda Fight against climate change


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EuropeanUnion EuropeanGreenDeal USA Cop26 climatechange ParisAgreement Cina Glasgow

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