COP26: can the world live with the resolutions?

After two weeks of negotiations the participants of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow agreed on a final declaration on Saturday. The document, which was signed by around 200 states, is less stringent than planned as regards the phasing out of coal, so that a compromise could be reached with China and India. In addition, compliance with the requirement to tighten inadequate climate protection plans by the end of 2022 remains voluntary. Europe's press reflects a lot of pessimism and a little optimism.

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For the summit was nothing but a disappointment:

“The Conference was full of vague promises - reduce methane, cut down fewer trees, phase out coal more rapidly. But apart from anything else, the sentence on coal in the final text was so wishy-washy that even the major coal producers Australia and India could agree to it. Because it means they don't have to change anything. The US and China want to establish a working group for more climate protection. A working group - that's ridiculous. Concrete commitments after seven months of secret negotiations between the mega-polluters? Zero. ... Not even the promises regarding climate protection go anywhere near far enough, never mind their not being fulfilled. ... How pathetic.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Simply not enough

Helsingin Sanomat is also dismayed:

“To judge by the speeches, the mood at the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow was excellent. ... In the meantime the crisis has reached a new level. The countries of the southern hemisphere didn't come to Glasgow to argue about the rules of the emissions market, but simply to beg for money to be able to protect themselves from hurricanes and repair the resulting damage. Yet in the two weeks of the summit the assembled countries failed to commit to abandoning fossil fuels or fossil fuel subsidies in their final resolution. It's not nice to spoil the fun, but this result is not enough.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Zero carbon - but not yet

Cumhuriyet columnist Ergin Yıldızoğlu writes:

“[In conclusion] we can say that the 1.5 degree target of the 2015 Paris Agreement is now unattainable. ... This pessismism stems from the discrepancy between countries' long-term promises and what they plan to do in the next ten critical years. Some commentators on the summit have recalled the prayer of St Augustine, who asked God to give him chastity - but not immediately. 'Zero carbon, methane gas, no forest destruction - but not yet' means a disastrous scenario for the future of the world.”

The Times (GB) /

More achieved than expected

But The Times finds the results of the climate summit quite impressive:

“Even the weakening of the final text's language on coal needs to be seen in context. This was the first climate conference pact to contain any mention of the need to end the world's reliance on coal. And while China and India may not yet be prepared to set a date for ending its use altogether, the G20 committed itself on the eve of the conference to stopping the financing of new overseas coal power stations, a significant advance. ... Meanwhile 23 heavy users of coal, including Vietnam and South Korea, have signed a pledge to phase it out.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

The young can no longer take the old seriously

Glasgow has deepened the divide between global leaders and the youth, writes La Repubblica:

“When children reject the language of their parents, the natural process of transition between generations is disrupted. This is exactly what happened in Glasgow, even before COP26 celebrated its own impotence in its final declaration with the whole world watching, looking on absentmindedly as the climate pact crashed against the coal cliffs. Greta Thunberg's denunciation of the 'blah, blah, blah' is not a gesture of protest, nor even an act of opposition, but the rejection of a code, the rupture of a pact, the rejection of a common reading of reality and finally the farewell to a common history.”