As we approach the global climate talks in Glasgow, there is a rising urgency for countries to ramp up climate action. Equally urgent is the need to create a meaningful, productive space for effective global cooperation. The failure of countries, including the United States, to effectively cooperate in responding to the emergency of a global pandemic continues with deadly consequences. The failure of past talks at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to drive action commensurate to the climate crisis has created another global emergency, described in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as “code red for the planet.”
There are signs of life. Earlier this year, the Biden administration rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement with a stronger commitment to reduce emissions and recently announced it would increase the U.S. contribution in climate aid to other countries. The U.S. and the European Union recently announced a Global Methane Agreement, with eight additional countries joining and more expected before the official launch in Glasgow. China announced in September it would stop financing new coal plants outside of its borders. These are all welcome first steps, but they aren’t close to enough. A new U.N. report found that current national-level commitments far exceed emissions reductions needed to meet the 1.5° C warming target.
IATP has been engaging in U.N. climate talks for more than two decades, advocating for bolder action to reduce emissions and deeper investments in a just transition, particularly for food and agriculture. We are publishing a series of articles and reports leading up to the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in Glasgow in November. Our Glasgow series will cover:
The urgent need to regulate and reduce agriculture emissions, particularly from global meat and dairy companies and the synthetic fertilizer industry;
Analysis of agribusiness “net zero” pledges that too often greenwash climate action, while diverting resources away from direct emissions reductions;
Developments by global banks and polluters to advance ineffective and unjust carbon market proposals that threaten human and land rights around the globe;
How and why climate finance can support a just transition for farmers and our food system by supporting agroecology.
When IATP attended the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, we reported on the damaging role of corporate influence in undermining climate action and global cooperation. From the global response to the pandemic to the most recent U.N. Food Systems Summit, concerns of undue corporate influence in multilateralism remain as we head into Glasgow. IATP will be reporting and advocating on these issues throughout COP 26, particularly as they intersect with food, farming and human rights.
The pandemic has created new challenges for COP 26, particularly for many developing countries and for civil society groups wanting to participate. Negotiations behind closed doors and in closed video conferencing rooms will no doubt hinder a strong and equitable outcome. But the urgent obligation for climate action will not wait, nor will the necessity of global solidarity in responding to this crisis.