Archie Young’s biography is completely over. “We’re rotating time zones,” Young says. We want to show ideas for all states. He regularly turns night into day to talk via video chat with delegations in China, Australia or the Far Island states. “In the end, everybody has to participate,” Young says. Britain’s chief negotiator is preparing for the November climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland. “For climate diplomacy,” he says, “this week is important.” And that’s what US President Joe Biden is responsible for, if you will.
Biden invited about 40 heads of state and government to the climate summit this Thursday and Friday. The selection of the participants, American negotiator Sue Biniaz, was a “difficult business”: a difficult task. Formally, digital meeting is not very important. But 40 participants will confirm in their speeches how much they care about the climate. But some will make new commitments – and, if things go well, the rest of the world should be under pressure.
Great Britain started. In addition to their previous target of minus 68 percent by 2030, the British are setting a new one for 2035: minus 78 percent. The European Union settled its dispute on climate law in time; It could promise a 55 percent reduction by 2030. It is expected that Biden himself will present his climate target for 2030, possibly following suit for countries such as Japan, Canada and South Korea. Jennifer Tallman, who follows climate policy for the European think tank E3G, says, “The first question will be how much the industrial nations group G7 operates.” “It’s a sign for everyone.”
Progress will only happen when China and USA follow suit
It is a sign that Archie Young also lives longer. The United Nations Summit in Glasgow, which Great Britain is organizing in conjunction with Italy, aims to close a huge gap in climate protection. Because even though all the countries of the world have kept what they have promised so far, according to the UNEP, the United Nations Environment Program, they can limit the global temperature rise to 2.6 degrees Celsius. The Paris Climate Agreement needs to be far above 1.5 degrees to avoid catastrophic consequences for the world. “If the world has to cut emissions in the next decade, we want to have a chance,” says London’s top climate diplomat.
From a purely political standpoint, the prospects are not bad, the return of the USA to the Climate Accord alone would help. US negotiator Biniaz said, “Climate will be a priority in bilateral relations.” “The major objective is to contribute to higher goals on the way to Glasgow.” Binzade joined when Biden’s special envoy John Kerry recently negotiated a paper with his Chinese counterpart Xie Xhenhua – literally, on a joint fight against the “climate crisis”.
The calculation is clear: Climate protection will only progress if the two largest emitters, China and the United States, are on board. Along with Europeans, the three biggest economic defects will unite in the fight against global warming. Together they represent about half of all CO₂ emissions. If these three blocks went first, the others would have to follow.
How serious is the People’s Republic of Climate Protection?
But how serious is the People’s Republic with climate protection? “China is currently a black box,” says Susanne Drog, who conducts research at the Berlin Foundation for Science and Politics. “Nobody knows how they want to achieve their goals.” Very little can be seen about accelerated climate protection in the most recent five-year plan. And in addition to the statement with Kerry, Beijing recently made a statement with South Africa, Brazil and India. In this, four decisive calls for climate protection. Above all, however, from others: industrialized countries. “It is very reminiscent of the climate policy of the 1990s,” says Droga. But it can also be a strategy.
China has not yet presented any concrete plan. The People’s Republic also wants to become CO-neutral by 2060. However, its only intermediate goal is unclear: some time before “before 2030” it wants to reach the point at which emissions will begin to fall. It is unlikely that President Xi Jinping will give more specific dates at Biden’s summit.
Biden’s virtual meeting is only the beginning of an eventful six months. In early May, states will continue to speak at the invitation of the federal government in the “Petersburg Climate Dialogue”. The list of participating countries closely resembles Washington. The G7 summit is scheduled for June, easily led by the British. And a few days before the start of the Glasgow Summit in October, groups of industrial and emerging countries will meet the G20. Italy is pulling strings here – co-organizer of the United Nations Conference in Scotland. Negotiator Young still sleeps a few nights.
However, in the end, E3G expert Tallman says, it is about global solidarity, including financial ones. Rich countries have pledged $ 100 billion annually for this in public and private funds. There is a moat here too. “There is always a lot of talk about what developing countries should or should not do,” says Tolman. “But little about how the rich world helps them.” By the way, developing countries can test how far solidarity is going in another area in the near future: when it comes to vaccination. “Many poor countries,” Tolman says, “see it as the first test.”