Countries divided over pledge to quit coal : Battle lines drawn?

Image Courtesy of France24

IN the run up to the on-going Conference of the Parties 26th meeting, (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland there was a lot of anxiety across the globe as to whether the conference would indeed match growing expectation on coming up with sustainable and effective ways of dealing with the climate change scourge.

COP26 comes at a critical juncture were experts have warned is a last attempt to slow down global warming which subsequently would arrest climate change.

This conference also provides for taking stock ofthe progress made in following up on the Paris Agreement that was signed in France in 2015.

The agreement spelt out plans of action, pledges made and targets proposed by all parties to the treaty in trying to combat carbon emissions and climate change.

In Paris in 2015, governments agreed to do everything necessary to keep global heating to below 1.5 degrees celsius, while rather ironically, most nations kept planning to establish new coal -fired power plants and the continued investment in coal mining ventures, such as in Australia.

Four days into the global climate change summit, there seems to be growing discord with regards to the issue of doing away with fossil fuels, particularly coal energy at least in the 2030s for major economies, while the poorer nations are expected to comply by the 2040s.

One would be pardoned to think that the war is far from over regarding the issue of phasing out the use of fossil fuels, in fact, battle lines could have been drawn and more antagonism is brewing. Developed countries alone are not singing from the same hymn book.

Rather unsurprisingly too, some of the major economies who ironically account for most of the carbon emissions such as the China, United States, India and Australia did not sign up to the pledge while Chile, Vietnam and Poland are some of those who pledged towards the goal.

According to a Rhodium group report that was released in 2019, China was the top carbon dioxide emitter in the world accounting for 27% of the world’s total emissions.

On the other hand, Australia has largely been blamed by critics who cited lack of will power on the government’s part to set ambitious targets for 2030, which are a major point of deliberation at COP26.

Australian Prime minister, Scott Morrison was last week on Tuesday however quoted as saying, “we won’t be lectured by others who don’t understand Australia. The Australian Way is all about how you do it, and not if you do it. It’s about getting it done.”

For the poorer nations mostly in the Third world such as in Africa, they are largely financially incapacitated to meet the pledge, as it requires to invest heavily in other sources of clean energy for a shift from fossil fuels to be realised effectively without negative repercussions on the economies.

Therefore, success of the pledge will rely heavily on major economies playing a critical role in unveiling funding to help third world countries to move away from coal energy.For now, it can only be best described as a waiting game to see how the plot unfolds!!!


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