COP26: They agree to reduce methane emissions and stop deforestation



The leaders of a hundred countries agreed today at the COP26 climate summit rreduce methane gas emissions and curb deforestation.

With these big promises for 2030, they tried boost complicated negotiations which now start at the UN conference.

On the third day of COP26 in the Scottish city of Glasgow, the leaders, invited to participate in the hope that their presence will promote a dialogue that is announced arduous, agreedn cut by 30% at the end of this decade its methane emissions.

“It is one of the gases that we can reduce more quickly,” underlined the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, along with the US president, Joe Biden, recalling that this is responsible for “about 30%” of accumulated global warming since the industrial revolution.

Methane (CH4) has a greenhouse effect 80 times more powerful than CO2 and its sources, such as open-cast coal mines and livestock, have received relatively little attention so far.

The pledge was signed by a hundred nations and Biden called for “more countries to join.”

But, despite the leadership of the United States and the European Union and the inclusion of large beef producers such as Brazil and Argentina, they only represent 40% of global methane emissions.

Outside the pact, three of the biggest emitters

However, they were left out of the pact China, India and Russia, three of the five largest emitters on the planet, and especially the latter, a gas extraction giant, with a high percentage of methane leaks in its distribution pipelines to Europe.

“Today’s announcement does not reach the 45% reduction that, according to the UN, is necessary to keep global warming below + 1.5ºC,” lamented Murray Worthy, head of the NGO Global Witness.

Argentina joined in on the promise by emphasizing “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities” between developed countries, responsible for the vast majority of emissions in the last century, and developing countries.

And its president, Alberto Fernández, asked to guarantee that this will not generate “new forms of protectionism” against its agri-food industry and that the payment of part of its enormous external debt is linked to “the essential investments in green infrastructure that Argentina needs.”

Canceled last year due to the pandemic, the COP26’s mission is to develop the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set the main objective of limiting global warming to + 1.5ºC.

Glasgow Declaration, agreement against deforestation

Seeking to give momentum, the heads of state and government also promised to absorb more by slowing down and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

It is estimated that deforestation in Brazil, the cradle of the largest lung on the planet, caused a 9.5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, compared to the previous year. AFP / ARCHIVE

“Our forests are also nature’s way of capturing carbon, pulling CO2 out of our atmosphere,” Biden said.

“We have to address this issue with the same seriousness as the decarbonization of our economies,” he added.

According to the NGO Global Forest Watch, only in 2020 the destruction of primary forests increased by 12% compared to the previous year despite the economic slowdown due to the pandemic. And in Brazil, the cradle of the largest lung on the planet, it caused a 9.5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

In this context, from Brazil to China, via Russia, Indonesia or the Democratic Republic of Congo, the leaders of more than 100 countries, which account for 85% of the world’s forests, signed the so-called Glasgow Declaration on Tuesday.

Its actions include supporting activities in developing countries such as restoring degraded lands, fighting forest fires and defending the rights of indigenous communities.

And will finance with 12 billion dollars of public money contributed by 12 countries between 2021 and 2025, plus $ 7.2 billion of private investment by more than 30 global financial institutions.

Environmental groups denounced the end of deforestation in 2030 as too late and Greenpeace called it a “green light for another decade of forest destruction.”

IM

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