Friday April 3rd… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ET’s will be listed at the very end of my article, below the news section for each day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ET’s (not extraterrestrials)😉
Main Topic: COP26 At Glasgow Gets Postponed Due To COVID19
Dear Diary: As Greta Thunberg and I have stated, the climate crisis and coronavirus pandemic are two existential items that are interacting with each other, and we as a species have to defeat. In microcosm, how we handle COVID19 in the next couple of years will be a big clue as to how we manage the damage to our climate in the long run. Some more progressive people have suggested that our society will never be the same after a vaccine for COViD19 is found and this awful disease is arrested. I hope society will be much improved. Here is why.
In the United States we are going into a fiscal depression due to social isolation, which apparently is the only tool in our arsenal for protection. We will need to rebuild our economy once a cure for COVID19 is scientifically discovered. Progressives are suggesting that this economic reboot could build in tandem with the Green New Deal, which I wholeheartedly endorse.
In the meantime we are loosing both the war on COVID19 and the fight to save our climate as of April 2020. Some of our last ditch efforts to save our climate are annual international conventions to make emission commitments stemming from the 2015 Paris Accords stronger. It saddens me to see that this year’s convention to be held in Glasgow, Scotland will be put off until early 2021, but there is a political silver lining. Here is more from Inside Climate News:
COP’s Postponement Until 2021 Gives World Leaders Time to Respond to U.S. Election
The annual United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow had been scheduled for six days after the presidential contest in early November.
Apr 1, 2020
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gives a speech during the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 Madrid, on Dec. 11, 2019. COP26 has been pushed back in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Credit: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images
At this year’s annual United Nations climate meeting, countries were expected to announce emboldened climate pledges and discuss another infusion of funds to help developing countries brace for coming climate impacts.
But the meeting’s postement, announced Wednesday, will snarl progress, even as it gives world leaders more time to respond to the outcome of the U.S. election in November.
The Conference of the Parties (COP26) was scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, with a lead-up meeting for October, in Italy. Both have been pushed back to 2021, though exact dates and details have not been set.
“In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of Covid-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible,” the U.N. said in a statement Wednesday.
The COP usually draws 25,000 to 30,000 people and poses huge logistical and scheduling hurdles for hosting cities.
The next COP is a critical one and the delay means countries—already behind on ramping up their climate ambitions under the 2015 Paris climate agreement—could stall further.
“The decision in Paris in 2015 invited countries to update their pledges by 2020,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “That is not a legally binding requirement—it’s a political request—but it still holds even if the summit is postponed. The pressure is still on countries to revise their commitments and that will be complicated by the Covid crisis.”
Countries will attempt to jump-start their economies after the crisis, most likely by amping up fossil fuel-dependent industries. Environmental researchers, pointing to the surge in greenhouse gas emissions after the 2008 financial crisis, are worried that will happen again.
There’s no reason that countries looking to restart their economies can’t target that in climate-friendly ways that will benefit the ambitions of their climate plans,” Meyer said.
Still, even before the Covid-19 crisis, the highest-emitting countries, including the U.S., China and Brazil, were not on track to ramp up their commitments. “There was always a concern that some of the big players weren’t moving quickly enough and that concern is still there,” Meyer said.
Countries were also slated to reevaluate their financial commitments to developing countries at the upcoming COP. Under the Paris agreement, developed countries pledged $100 billion to help mitigate the effects of climate change in developing countries that are bearing the brunt of global warming, yet have contributed relatively little to the problem.
“The UK climate summit was expected to be a moment where the finance ministers would evaluate how countries are doing in making that commitment,” Meyer said, adding that countries were also expected to discuss further funding beyond the initial $100 billion.
“The Covid crisis is not putting the atmosphere on hold. It’s not saying there’s not going to be any more drought or wildfires,” he noted. “Covid could exacerbate those impacts.”
There is, however, a potential bright spot to the postponement.
President Donald Trump announced shortly after taking office that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, but under the agreement, the earliest possible withdrawal date is Nov. 4, four years after the agreement took effect in the United States—and a day after the upcoming presidential election.
The meeting in Glasgow had been scheduled for six days after the election. That would have given leaders little time to respond to either another Trump administration—and the full withdrawal of the United States from the pact—or a new, incoming Democratic administration, which, under the agreement’s rules, could restore and revamp U.S. commitments as soon as February 2021.
“With this scenario at least you have clarity on who the president is well before the meeting,” Meyer said. “And in a Trump scenario, they would have more than six days to think through the implications of four more years of Trump and figure out their response. It provides a little more breathing space.”
If Trump is reelected, China and the European Union, the first and third-largest greenhouse gas emitters, could make a joint commitment under the agreement.
“China has shown an interest in providing more leadership on climate,” Meyer said.
Here is more from Inside Climate News:
Let us hope that necessary work on the climate does not continued to be stymied from COVID19. I’ll continue to report about this as we move through 2020. Here are some related items:
Now, here are some of todays articles on the horrendous coronavirus pandemic:
Here is more climate and weather news from Friday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”