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Post Pandemic: A chance to turn a corner on Climate change. (The World in 2021)

| Tuesday, 05 January 2021, 14:14
| Glasgow, Scotland, World

It looks like that 2021 will be the boldest year ever for tackling climate change.

Nature, Environment
| Representational Photo, Credit: https://biox.stanford.edu/
In November, all eyes will be on Glasgow, Scotland as world leaders meet for the UN's climate-change summit, known as COP26, it was originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. If it had gone ahead as planned COP26 would have marked five years since the Paris agreement.

Built into the Paris agreement was this ratchet mechanism that basically said governments need to every five years, increase the promises to cut emissions. The Paris agreement set a target of limiting global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, but experts predict that the pledges governments made in 2015 would not be enough to achieve this target. So this ratchet mechanism, the purpose of COP26 is really to get closer to this target of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius and what's needed for that are bigger, better promises to cut national emissions.

It looks like that 2021 will be the boldest year ever for tackling climate change. So the EU has said that it will reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Climate change is caused by us so in other words, it's up to us to make a turnaround. They have an expansive package of policies that they will be expanding on and agreeing on in 2021 for how they head towards that goal.

The surprise announcement really of this year came in September, 2020 when Xi Jinping announced that China would be heading towards carbon neutrality by 2060. The details of how China does this are still unclear and are anticipated at some point in 2021.

In America, Donald Trump has undermined global efforts to tackle global warming.

"We are going to put our coal miners back to work". - Donald Trump

"In 2021 this could all change. What is our mandate? I believe it's this, the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control" - Joe Biden

He is going to mark a real U-turn in particular American foreign climate policy. Biden has promised to put America back into the Paris agreement pretty much as soon as he enters the Oval office, and as such, America will once again be influencing global climate politics.

America is the world's second-biggest emitter, Joe Biden has promised to make the country carbon-neutral by 2050. His greatest challenge, however, is getting these ambitious pledges through Congress. There is a lot of ease in making these long-term promises. It's a lot harder to back those up with the real policies at home that are going to achieve them.

But having the European Union, the United States, China, all headed towards some kind of mid-century target, 2050, 2060 of eliminating their emissions, should give confidence to the rest of the countries that they can also amp up their targets. So all of that put together means that 2021 could really mark a turning point in international climate negotiations.





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