The main battle lines emerging in the talks in Glasgow, known as the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties, or COP26, revolve around who is responsible for the global warming that is already happening, and who should do what to contain. from deterioration and how to live with the damage already done.
The meeting place is itself a reminder. In the mid-19th century, Glasgow was the center of heavy industry and shipbuilding. His power and wealth grew as Britain conquered countries across Asia and Africa, mining for their wealth and becoming the world’s leading industrial power until the United States took over the mantle.
The largest share of the emissions that have already warmed the planet comes mainly from the United States and Europe, including the UK, while the largest share of the emissions now coming from China, the world’s factory.
In some cases, the Glasgow divisions have pitted developed industrialized countries, including the United States and Europe, against emerging economies, including China, India and South Africa. In other cases, they are pitting large emerging pollutants like China and India against small vulnerable countries, including low-lying island states in the Pacific and Caribbean, that want more aggressive abatement action.
Tensions over money are so great that they threaten to disrupt cooperation.
In 2010, rich countries pledged to pay $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with climate change. Some of this money has been paid, but the full amount will not be realized until 2023, that is, with a three-year delay, according to the latest plan announced by a group of industrialized countries.
Even more dangerous is the idea that industrialized countries will also pay reparations to vulnerable countries to compensate for the damage already done. Known in diplomatic circles as a loss and damage fund, discussions on this issue have been postponed for years by opposition from countries such as the United States.