The Philippines joins 44 other nations in the world in committing to protect nature from the havoc caused by climate change, of which coastal nations are most vulnerable. There are pledges to change to sustainable food production and fund such shifts, especially for poor countries. But some suspect it may just be a “COP(26) by press release.”
The Philippines joins 44 other nations in committing today (Saturday) to protect nature in fighting climate change, which has wreaked havoc in the world, with developing countries along the coasts getting the brunt of nature’s wrath.
Today, the 6th day of the COP26 (or the UN climate change conference of parties) that gathered world leaders virtually and physically in Glasgow, Scotland to work at concrete action plans to combat global warming, which has caused massive, destructive and frequent heat waves, floods, thunderstorms, hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes never experienced before.
A report of Thomson Reuters Foundation said the Glasgow summit is meant to step up protection of nature and overhaul farming to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to host Britain.
With a rising world population, it is was vital to curb global warming stoked by farming, deforestation and other land use changes that account for about a quarter of humanity’s planet-heating emissions, said an official statement from Glasgow.
On Saturday, the COP26 talks will focus on ways to enlist nature to keep alive a goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) above pre-industrial times, the toughest ambition of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Average surface temperatures are already up about 1.2C.
“To keep 1.5 degrees alive, we need action from every part of society, including an urgent transformation in the way we manage ecosystems and grow, produce and consume food on a global scale,” said UK Environment Secretary George Eustice.
“We need to put people, nature and climate at the core of our food systems,” he added.
The statement said 45 governments would “pledge urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming.”
Backers include major economies led by the United States, Japan and Germany and developing nations such as India, Indonesia, Morocco, Vietnam, Gabon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uruguay, aside from the Philippines.
The statement did not give the total amount of funding but that the measures would include "leveraging over $4 billion of new public sector investment into agricultural innovation, including the development of climate-resilient crops and regenerative solutions to improve soil health."
Protecting 5M hectares of rainforests
Among the measures, Britain said it would give a 500-million-pound boost to protect more than 5 million hectares — equivalent to more than 3.5 million football pitches — of tropical rainforests and create thousands of green jobs across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Greenhouse gas emissions from land use range from carbon dioxide released by the burning of forests to clear land for farming, to methane from cows and other livestock as they digest food.
Some environmental activists say Britain has shifted the way host countries of climate summits or COPs — formally known as Conferences of the Parties — run the global gatherings, where they usually work behind the scenes to build consensus.
Instead, Britain has grabbed headlines this week by announcing new alliances, for instance by more than 40 nations to phase out coal, or another by major investors with $130 trillion at their disposal to boost the green economy.
Some climate activists are wary that the high-profile pledges may not be fulfilled.
COP run by press release
“Important as these announcements may be, they are not legally binding,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a Kenya-based think-tank. “This cannot be a COP run by press release.”
He said the test of the agriculture commitments would be how far they are built into each of the 45 nations’ formal climate action plans.
And Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace, said the UK media announcements often turned out to be exaggerations.
“We actually want to find things to celebrate here, but it’s hard when there is a constant concern that everyone is getting played,” she said in a statement.
Matt Williams of the London-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said food and farming had so far been largely missing from the COP26 summit, as well as from many countries' 2030 climate plans.
“This deal plants the seeds for food and farming to be considered serious parts of the route to net zero emissions,” he added.
The UK-led nature statement noted that land clearance to produce food such as “beef, soy, palm oil and cocoa is a major driver of deforestation.”
It said 28 nations that are big consumers of those commodities had joined a Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap launched in February this year.
To safeguard the planet’s seas, which are suffering from over-fishing and warming waters, the COP26 statement said more than 10 new countries had signed up to a goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the oceans by 2030.
They are India, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jamaica, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Samoa, Tonga, Gambia and Georgia.
Tags: #Glasgow, #Scotland, #COP26, #protectingnature, #reducingcarbonemissions, #environment