COP 26 and the climate crisis
After being postponed for a year due to the pandemic, Glasgow hosted (from 31st October to 13th November 2021) the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP 26). Its main objective was to bring together politicians, activists, and personalities from around the world to promote a coordinated action in order to double international efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as established in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
However, despite the postponement of the negotiations’ closure and the modifications made to the successive drafts, most countries, NGOs, and invited personalities reached, once again, the same conclusion: climate marketing and greenwashing have prevailed over urgency.
According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports, current GHG emission rates will lead to a global temperature rise of 2.7 degrees. Therefore, the countries that participated in the Glasgow Summit were required to submit or update their “nationally determined contributions”, so that they demonstrate that they are working to achieve the 1.5°C target.
In addition to this, and due to the current international context, there is another urgency: ensuring that all countries recover from the pandemic in a sustainable, collaborative and environmentally friendly manner. As a result, it was agreed that the guiding principles of any action taken will be:
- Human rights. Especially those of children, migrants, indigenous people, local communities, people with disabilities and other vulnerable collectives.
- Gender and intergenerational equality.
- The preservation of biodiversity and nature.
- Science. In particular, the role of the scientific community will be strengthened in decision-making processes, so that societies’ responsiveness is improved.
At the same time, the objectives are organized into several issues: “mitigation”, “adaptation”, “finance” and “collaboration”. This structure recognizes the necessity of adapting to the changes that the climate crisis is already causing, as well as of mitigating the potential effects of this phenomenon.
In fact, the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation aims to improve the adaptability of the planet and people to the effects of climate change. Specifically, its objectives are to:
- Broaden the understanding of the global goal on adaptation.
- Enable a full implementation of the Paris Agreement.
- Improve the implementation of actions at a national level.
- Facilitate the creation of monitoring and evaluation systems that respond to each country’s socioeconomic context.
- Help the most vulnerable countries to develop stronger actions.
With regard to the “Finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation” line of work, the most notable advances have been the following:
- New inclusive, transparent and multi-perspective negotiations will be held after 2025.
- Financial institutions will continue to make moves in order to realign trillions of dollars so that we can reach global net zero.
- 36 countries will require companies to guide their investors towards greener investments.
- Santiago Network will be responsible for establishing and funding technical assistance to countries to help them avoid, minimize and cope with losses and damages caused by climate change.
Notwithstanding, the results of the negotiations were not as positive as they might seem. In fact, UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres, acknowledged that the participants did not reach agreements on crucial issues for the sustainability of the planet, such as the end of subsidies to fossil fuels, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, etc. Consequently, he stated, “we are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe and it is time to go into emergency mode”.
Among the main reasons for this is the participants’ failure to comply with one of the crucial agreements for the viability of these projects. In financial terms, they were to mobilize 100 billion dollars for adaptation purposes, but, in the end, this figure will not be reached until 2023. In addition, developed countries were asked to double (by 2025) their collective financial contribution to help developing countries to adapt to the new environmental conditions.
On the other hand, the efforts made to achieve the objective “mitigation” (reducing emissions so that temperature does not increase by more than 1.5°C) are not enough, as we mentioned. In this respect, the vast majority of the participants recognized that the actions that are being implemented lack both in scope and strength and that those agreed upon for the next years do not represent a significant step forward.
The main problem has been the absence of a unanimous agreement to stop using coal. Thus, although there has been a commitment to reduce subsidies for polluting energies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, developing countries and major powers (such as China) continue to increase their consumption of fossil fuels.
Article 6, which describes a mechanism by which countries and companies could buy and sell “carbon credits”, could help to address this problem. However, no consensus has been reached on how it should work or on how these emissions would be computed.
In any case, a timetable and common reference tables for monitoring the progress of countries with respect to their contributions to the reduction of emissions have been established.
Other interesting, but overly general, proposals are those aimed at protecting and restoring ecosystems, as they would (potentially) reduce net GHG emissions by more than 7 gigatons by 2030. Another noteworthy project is the public-private partnership for the development of the first ever green shipping corridors.
COP 26 and the refrigeration industry
For the refrigeration industry, the most valuable issues discussed at the Glasgow Summit are the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of environmentally sustainable agricultural and logistics models.
Gradhoc has been actively working to develop the best cooling management system by combining technology and experience. It is an investment in the medium and long term that will allow all kinds of industries to achieve greater rates of energy efficiency, which means saving significant sums of money during the life cycle of the equipment used. In addition, a real environmental commitment enhances corporate reputation, which, in turn, increases both sales and the chances of receiving public and private investment. Finally, the subsidies available to polluting industries will be decreasing, jeopardizing the competitiveness of those business that fail to align their financial objectives with the ecological ones.
On the other hand, the food sector needs a refrigeration industry that be technologically advanced, as well as committed to the environment, to maximize its efficiency, thus avoiding deforestation, optimizing energy consumption, etc.
Gradhoc, through its software, helps to achieve the environmental objectives settled to secure our future in our planet.