The Strategist

States renew climate promises at UN Climate Action Summit

09/25/2019 - 10:02

The UN climate summit ended in New York on Tuesday. No serious new promises were made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but many countries and companies announced renewal of renewable energy development plans, investments in the green economy and UN climate funds. From the results of the summit it follows that the climate agenda is still listed among the priorities of international politics, but the transition to concrete actions is still very difficult.

ONU Brasil
ONU Brasil
Three days before the start of the summit, which was held within the framework of the 73rd UN General Assembly, the largest climate march in history took place in New York. According to various estimates, more than 200 thousand people took part in it, calling on governments to take more active measures to reduce emissions greenhouse gases to save the planet from the climate crisis. The famous international climate activist Greta Thunberg also participated in the march in New York. Later, speaking at a session of the UN General Assembly, she accused leaders of countries “telling tales of perpetual economic growth” of lying and gambling with the future.

UN Secretary General António Guterres, opening the summit, called on countries for more active climate action. 

“Countries were expected to claim greater climate ambitions, but major economies didn’t,” says Andrew Steer, President of the Washington Resource Center at the World Resources Institute (WRI). “Such inaction is in contrast to the growing demand for climate action from the public. “Business representatives, including investors, are also beginning to pay more and more attention to this issue.”

However, the summit still brought some results: 67 countries responsible for 8% of global emissions, including Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, announced plans to increase their climate obligations by 2020; another 66 countries intend to set goals for achieving carbon neutrality. Germany joined the global coalition to quit coal (by 2038), announcing the adoption of a “climate package”, a set of measures to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including setting a price for CO2 emissions of € 10 per ton by 2021.

Finland announced the goal of becoming the first industrial country to absorb more greenhouse gases than it emits. Pakistan, in which 1 billion trees have been planted over the past five years, has promised to plant another 10 billion in the next five years. Greece announced plans to ban the use of disposable plastic by 2021 and to withdraw from coal energy by 2028. India intends to increase renewable energy to 175 GW by 2022 and to 450 GW after 2022. Several countries, including Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and South Korea, have promised new contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which finances measures to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change in developing countries; the budget of this fund has grown to $ 7.4 billion. In addition, 87 international companies joined the initiative to take into account emission reduction targets throughout the supply chain, and more than a hundred cities in the world announced the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050.


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