The highly anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is well underway in Glasgow, Scotland. 120 world leaders are attending the 12-day conference to discuss climate change issues and policies. The first few days were when the leaders did most of their work, with their representatives and diplomats to take over for the remainder of the summit.
One of the biggest outcomes thus far has been the Global Methane Pledge made by over 100 nations. The partnership was announced by US President Joe Biden and EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen earlier this week.
The agreement asks nations to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent between 2020 and 2030. Methane is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane has resulted in roughly half a degree (Celsius) in global warming.
“We cannot wait for 2050,” said Ursula von der Leyen.
“We have to cut emissions fast.”
Notably absent from the pledge were China, Russia, India, Iran, and now Australia.
“We’ve got a net-zero goal, we’re not setting sector specific targets and we aren’t setting gas-specific targets,” said Australia’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
“It’s the entirety of the gases that matters … that’s our specific goal.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia’s choice not to join the pledge was “disappointing”.
“We can’t keep on pretending that this is a problem we can push out to the future, this is happening right now,” he said.
“We are living with the reality of global warming now, we need to stop burning coal and gas and [we have] got to reduce methane emissions,” said Turnbull.
More than 40 nations have also agreed to work toward phasing out coal-fired power to ensure global warming does not continue beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Over 100 countries also pledged to end deforestation by 2030.
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the importance of the “landmark” pledge.
“We have to stop the devastating loss of our forests,” he said, stressing the need to “end the role of humanity as nature’s conqueror, and instead become nature’s custodian”.
The countries who agreed to the pledge make up roughly 85 per cent of the world’s forests.
More is likely to come as the summit continues.
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