The 26th Glasgow International Climate Summit has come to an end. At the same time, the main concern in the agreement reached is not the environment but the establishment of transnational governance to control global energy and build a financial network based on it. Tensions were high and the Glasgow summit failed to achieve much success in preventing global warming.
Breathtaking Negotiations and the Adoption of the Final Statement
The Glasgow summit came to an end as Alok Sharma slammed his hammer on the table in the last hour of the conference just before 8pm in the presence of country representatives as a sign of approval of the provisions of the final statement.
Thus, after two weeks of breathtaking negotiations and discussions, the final statement was adopted after at least three corrections and changes. But will this statement be able to achieve its goal of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius?
Hope to Implement the Provisions of the Statement
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, British Labour leader Keir Stammer and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the final statement. The Labour leader, however, accused Boris Johnson of never taking the conference seriously. Boris Johnson posted a message on his Twitter account later than the others, congratulating Alok Sharma for leading the meeting. Glasgow’s summit was useless when Boris Johnson was not as active as he should have been.
Opposition by Some Leaders to the End
Until the last minute, there were still objections to including targets to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. India, for example, expressed dissatisfaction until the last minute. Developing countries argue that reducing subsidies could put pressure on disadvantaged families and groups for energy and heating. At India’s insistence, “reduction” was used for coal instead of “elimination.” These are some of the reasons why the Glasgow summit failed to achieve its goals.
US-China Bilateral Statement
The Glasgow summit did not go well in the first week, with not many signs of serious progress. The US and China issued a bilateral statement on reducing oxygen consumption a day before the official conference, which re-energised the conference. China and the United States have said they will work to maintain the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the new century. The EU and the UN described the agreement as a positive step forward. The joint statement issued by the US State Department on November 10 speaks of the two countries’ commitment to maintaining 1.5 degrees Celsius, but does not provide further details. Among the specific goals of this statement is the US objective of achieving 100% non-fossil electricity by 2035.
António Guterres Criticises the Fossil Fuel Industry
António Guterres said he was impressed by the mobilisation of the people and civil society, especially the youth, during the conference. He told the Glasgow Summit that he was pleased to address these issues in a joint US-Chinese statement. But such promises appear empty while fossil fuel industries receive trillions of dollars in subsidies or when countries build coal-fired power plants. He criticised the fact that carbon still has no cost.
Guterres Request to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The issue of “paying” for the use of fossil fuels has been heard many times in the speeches of EU leaders, the Group of Seven, UN officials and British officials. Guterres called on all countries, cities and financial institutions such as banks to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, Alok Sharma, the UK president of COP26 who was trying to pass a statement in the last minutes of the conference, said, “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak, and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.” He said there was still much work to be done as the conference drew to a close. Guterres also did not pin his hopes on the Glasgow summit.
The UK Seeks to Establish a Financial and Banking Mechanism
The UK does not seem to want to give up until it has set a financial and banking instrument based on energy production and consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and oxygen consumption. This came at a time when the conference overshadowed the issue of corruption in the government and the ruling Conservative Party.
Non-Binding Glasgow Statement
The Glasgow summit document only requires countries to comply with specific conditions. The final declaration cannot impose anything on governments, as everything is currently voluntary. The statement is weak in terms of financial aid, and according to Patricia Espinosa, $ 100 billion in aid to poor countries was never realised. The document makes no mention of the $ 500 billion needed for these changes.
Application for Financial Assistance by Developing Countries
Developing countries ask for financial aid and support, and rich countries avoid a specific commitment. The British media has severely diluted reporting the final text. It only refers to the relatively severe control of coal-fired power projects, which in practice can only be interpreted as reducing subsidies for its extraction. This document refers to “fossil fuels” for the first time, which observers consider a positive step. The document calls on countries to reduce ineffective subsidies for fossil fuel use. Elimination of subsidies can create many problems for low-income families in developing countries. Eliminating subsidies is more like a World Bank recommendation than an environmental issue.
At Least 503 Lobbyists in Glasgow
At least 503 fossil fuel lobbyists attended the Glasgow conference. The watchdog group Global Witness revealed this number by analysing the information available on the names of the lobbyists and searching for their connections with the fossil fuel industry. More than 100 fossil fuel companies also attended the conference.
Rich Countries Hinder the Progress of the Summit
While some European observers say the text of the draft appears to have been written by Americans, countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Bangladesh claimed at a news conference that the United States was blocking the conference. According to them, the United States does not pay attention to the financial concerns of developing and poor countries. It should be said that the impact of resolutions issued at this conference on the regular, daily lives of people has not been considered. Do people ask how an average family should save £20,000 to purchase an electric car? This is just the problem of the citizens of rich countries.
The Role of Rich Countries in the Climate Crisis
The countries with the highest oxygen consumption are the UK, US, South Africa, Canada and Australia. Australia alone produced nearly 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020. This figure was zero for Australia around 1860. It is estimated that Australia has imported 18 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide since then. Last year, Canada produced 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and South Africa about 500 million tonnes. New Zealand made 35 million tonnes and the UK itself 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the past year. The UN Environment Program estimates that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 7.6% a year over the next ten years to reach the 1.5-degree target. These five countries produce 6% of the world’s total carbon dioxide.
The reference to fossil fuels is cited as the tremendous success of the Glasgow Summit Statement. The statement called on countries to phase out subsidies for coal and fossil fuels. There was a disagreement over the wording of this general paragraph, which led to changes in the final text. Until the last moment, there were many differences and tensions between the negotiators. Even at the time of the vote, there was still concern that India or China would veto the material. In particular, no specific agreement has yet been reached on the financing of the developments prescribed in this document.