The expectation was that against the background of the pandemic and an increasingly active climate agenda, the conference would provide new, tough landmark decisions in the fight against global warming and CO2 emissions.
But the outbreak of an energy crisis in China and India and the dramatic rise in gas prices in Europe placed the very climate goals in doubt.
The outcome of the Glasgow conference was a disappointment to many. Experts believe that the agreements reached were insufficient to keep climate change in check.
Over two weeks, 200 countries discussed climate problems at the conference and agreed to deploy even greater efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. However, there was no agreement reached on the mechanisms to oblige countries to commit themselves to more decision action.
Governments will therefore have to adjust their legislation and climate goals themselves by the end of next year.
The countries present agreed to continue their efforts to contain global warning to within a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius – for which a vital step is to reduce emissions by 45 % by 2030 from 2010 levels.
And in addition, participants agree the rules of international trade in carbon units.
The Glasgow climate agreement also failed to include a demand for the gradual phasing out of coal. The most active opponents of that formulation were Australia and India. Instead, softer wording was used: India pressed for “gradual phasing down”.
And at issue here was not “final coal” but rather the sort with which there is no option to remove harmful emissions through technologies of carbon capture.
That means that there was no insistence on the use of coal in conjunction with technologies for capture and storage.
As Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadava said, for developing countries, the primary issue in the foreground is the fight against poverty and the need for development – and that gives too little room to abandon fossil fuels.
About half the participating countries at the conference – about 110 states – agreed on reducing methane emissions. This initiative to reduce methane emissions by 30 % was proposed by the United States and European Union. As the head of the EU’s Executive Comnissuon, Ursula von der Leyden noted, methane contributes 80 times more to climate change than does carbon dioxide. The agreement will allow global warming to be reduced by 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050. But the largest producers of methane emissions, India, China and Russia , did not endorse the initiative.
Anout 100 countries, including Russia and Canada, promised to stop illegal felling of forests by 2030. The two countries account for about 85 % of the world’s forests.
Countries are expected to present their new plans for reducing emissions next year.
Britain’s proposal to ban cars with internal combustion engines from 2040 was not backed by conference participants.
Conference Chairman Alok Sharma even apologised for the process of achieving agreement and said he understood the deep disappointment with the festival’s final communique.