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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Triple Bottom Tuesday >>> Is COP Addressing the Real Issues?


Picture Credit: Markus Spiske


COP is an annual climate change conference held by the United Nations. COP26 is currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland and world leaders from more than 100 countries are gathering to discuss their progress and their contributions to battling climate change.


World leaders have made many “promises” over the years in these summits, such as halting financial aid to coal plants overseas and to tackle methane leaks. However, the lack of consequences leaders face for not achieving their sustainability goals, and the vagueness of when exactly these goals need to be completed is a massive setback.


To get a better understanding of this problem, we need to understand what the Paris Agreement is and what the G-20 meetings are.


The Paris Agreement was a legally binding international agreement on climate change, and it was signed by 196 countries. The “legally binding” aspect of the agreement was that countries should “prepare, communicate and maintain successive NDCs”. An NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) of a country is a nationally set target by the state itself to reduce their emissions. However, the actual achievement of these NDCs is not legally binding, meaning that the agreement will not enforce any repercussions if the NDCs are not met.


Then there is the G-20 summit. This is a summit consisting of 19 of the worlds most powerful countries and the EU, which collectively aims to unite world leaders around economic, political and health challenges. Even though they are the most powerful countries in the world, their contributions to fight climate change has been questionable. For example, on the issue of methane, these global superpowers agreed that reducing its release to the atmosphere is one of the most feasible ways to cool the planet, but they fell short of agreeing to the Global Methane Pledge which targets to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030.


It almost feels as if some countries take a more laidback approach to the climate change emergency, preaching about net carbon neutrality on the world stage, but then continuing to pollute when no one is watching.


Picture Credit: Markus Distelrath


Many small, developing nations face the consequences of their actions. Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa comments “this weak statement from the G-20 is what happens when developing countries who are bearing the full force of the climate crisis are shut out of the room”.


It is crucial that world leaders don’t undermine the importance of committing to reducing climate change. As we can see, the loopholes in these “legally binding” treaties and the vagueness to commit to a set date to implement these solutions have dented our progress.


They need to set and commit to the deadlines, because “a goal without a deadline, is just a dream”.


November 02nd 2021 | 2:15 PM


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