Stark warnings abound as world leaders gather for the UN General Assembly this week. The annual meeting will likely be dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and climate change — it comes just six weeks before the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Current ambitions from the world’s countries are not nearly enough to keep warming within non-cataclysmic limits, the UN warned Friday. The aggregation of climate action plans from 191 nations would heat the planet by a horrific 4.9°F (2.7°C) by 2100, the report found, with time rapidly running out to limit warming to the 2.7°F (1.5°C) goal set out in the Paris Agreement.
Rich countries better pay their money
Not only must countries increase their ambition and accelerate action, but wealthy nations must also make good on their commitments to aid developing countries. In 2009, rich countries pledged to provide $100 billion in aid annually to developing nations by 2020, but a new report from the OECD says 2019 funding (the last year for which data is available) was less than $80 billion, just 2% more than the previous year.
If wealthy nations don’t make good on their promises, “then the whole system is in question,” Mohamed Nasr, an Egyptian diplomat who negotiates climate finance issues on behalf of the African group of nations, told Politico. “If you are asking developing countries to do more and more and more — which they are willing to do — and you are not delivering on your pledges, then there is a question mark.” (UNGA: Washington Post $, New York Times $, E&E News, Wall Street Journal $, Reuters; Emissions: Washington Post $, Thomson Reuters Foundation, explainer, Axios, NPR, Reuters, The Hill, Democracy Now, Axios, New York Times $, Politico Pro $, Wall Street Journal $; Financial commitments: Politico EU, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Climate Home, Reuters, Politico Pro $, Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation)