America’s articulation of Paris Agreement goals has brought last-minute optimism to the climate debate about the world’s ability to respond to the climate crisis. For experts, the shorter time frame creates global competition based on reducing carbon emissions.
“The path to decarbonization is cleared; now it’s becoming a race for the best technologies for that, ”says economist and doctorate in political science Ana Toni, director of the Instituto Clima e Sociedade.
At the Climate Summit, organized by the United States last week, the United States’ special climate envoy, John Kerry, twice affirmed the bet to keep global warming below 1.5 ° C. .
“Over 50% of global GDP has agreed here today that we are going to 1.5 ° C,” Kerry said at the summit, after four months of articulation with the planet’s biggest emitters to anticipate milestones commitments from 2050 to 2030..
Developed countries like the United States, Japan and Canada, in addition to the European Union, have announced targets to reduce emissions by around half by 2030, which responds in an unprecedented way to science’s recommendation to contain global warming to 1.5 ° C. Prior to the summit, Morocco was the only country with an adequate target for the Paris Agreement target.
The measured progress announced by the leaders of the emerging economies were celebrated as signs of cooperation, the negotiation on the different responsibilities and financing capacities between developed and emerging countries having been one of the main obstacles to climate agreements.
Seeking global alignment to regain confidence in the American agenda and conduct, the United States has stepped up diplomatic attention with major issuers such as China and Russia, which are also antagonistic to the Americans on other agendas. “The climate is one of the few issues on which these countries understand they have to cooperate, because they can only deal with it together,” says Toni.
China has announced that it will anticipate peaks in emissions before 2030 and reduce coal consumption from 2025, while Russia has spoken of reducing emissions by 2050. The United States has also announced a partnership to support the energy transition in India, whose electricity sector accounts for nearly half of its emissions. Indians are responsible for 7% of current global emissions and, before decarbonization, prioritize universal access to electricity in rural areas.
For Toni, the United States calculates a start ahead of the big emitters on the decarbonization path because “they realized that they had not lost China to carbon emissions, but to because of the lack of investment in science and innovation “. “Now the key to competition has changed. The political calculation is that the margin of competitive advantage of production by externalizing climate costs is low compared to the technological competitiveness gain that comes with the headache, ”he underlines.
However, according to the assessment of physicist and climatologist Paulo Artaxo, professor at USP, it is no longer time to stop the warming at 1.5 ° C – the ceiling would prevent flooding of coasts and submersion of countries islanders until the end of the century. “The world has already warmed between 1.1 ° C and 1.2 ° C and, until the announced policies are now implemented, we will already have reached 1.5 ° C”, estimates Artaxo.
“As these policies are not developed overnight, we will have another 30 years of emissions and the world will continue to warm at an accelerated rate; impossible to avoid. “
According to Toni, the next decade will be guided by economic instruments, with measures such as carbon pricing, from the emissions market to taxation, and the revision of global trade criteria, in regulations that would avoid giving benefits to consumers. carbon dioxide dependent products.
Financing by the richest is the key expected for the rest of the world to follow the path of decarbonization. “The return of the USA to the table is also fundamental because of the return of funding, which remains the big question,” said Pablo Vieira, director of the NDC Partnership. The initiative supports 77 developing countries in the implementation of climate goals.
For him, the debate must go beyond emerging and developed nations, which are the current and historic major emitters, to finance a global and inclusive shift in the emissions curve. “We cannot ignore the smaller or poorer countries because they will be the main emitters of the future.”
The developed bloc had promised, in 2009, annual donations of 100 billion US dollars (547 billion reais) from 2020 to finance climate actions in developing countries, but this promise is considered by the international community as little. likely to be held today.
The United States said last week that it should give $ 1.2 billion (6.5 billion reais) to the Green Climate Fund and distribute an additional $ 1.3 billion (7.1 billion reais) in bilateral partnerships.
Another bet to respond to the drastic reduction in emissions is carbon capture. Offsetting – not just avoiding – emissions is a caveat in the rhetoric of countries heavily dependent on fossil fuel production – like Saudi Arabia, Norway and even the United States. They are targeting investments to offset the combustion of greenhouse gases using soil storage technologies, mainly by planting trees and restoring degraded natural spaces.
In addition to allowing big polluters to embark on short-term climate objectives, the compensation is intended for investments in countries with large areas to regenerate, as is the case in Brazil.
The country had previously received donations of R $ 3.4 billion from Norway and Germany as compensation for controlling deforestation, but transactions were halted when the Bolsonaro government began.
Even in an effort to transform his face at the Climate Summit, President Jair Bolsonaro still associated, in his speech on Thursday (22), poverty with what he called the “Amazonian paradox”. The Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes, had already aroused criticism last year by associating, in the economic forum of Davos, deforestation with the fight against poverty.
According to sources related to US diplomacy, the Brazilian president’s speech, based on the leadership’s past accomplishments and without presenting current strategies, undermined expectations that the government might have a chance to regain international confidence in the government. climate agenda.
However, the United States is expected to cover the country’s efforts always in a spirit of cooperation, under the priority of completing the Paris settlement, scheduled for the end of the year at COP26, in Scotland. .