Global Climate Leadership in the aftermaths of COP26

Event: Sustainable Growth Model

Scholars and practitioners from China, Europe and the US discussed ways forward for the climate cause after the COP26 Glasgow Summit last year.

The two-day conference united Chinese, European and US speakers from academia, administrations and governments to take stock of the results of the COP 26 Glasgow Summit and the further way forward in climate protection efforts.

In regard of evaluating the summit, Mr. Xu from China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation and Mr. Sach from Germany’s Ministry for the Environment pointed out its importance in fleshing out further details on how the goals of the Paris Agreement can be achieved. Nevertheless, both agreed that further work is necessary to ensure that economic recovery programmes are designed in a climate-friendly way. Mr. Sach put forward the idea of a “climate club”, consisting of frontrunners and leadership countries but open for all to accelerate the achievement of objectives.

The importance of setting ambitious climate targets in order to achieve a clean energy transition was pointed out by Mr. Pan from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Paolo Caridi from the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission made clear that an efficient carbon-pricing mechanism played a crucial role therein and elaborated on the EU’s successful decoupling of growth and emissions. Kevin Tu (Agora Energiewende) and the other panellists agreed that energy transition is an opportunity and that its implementation requires trust and cooperation.

The importance for a just energy transition that does not leave developing countries behind and takes into account their development needs was highlighted by Leslie Maasdorp, Vice President of the New Development Bank. He, Ms Chao Qingchen, Director General at China’s National Climate Centre, and Thomas Hirsch, Climate Development Advice, stressed therefore the significance of international cooperation, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Non-state actors should scrutinise government action and therefore help countries to act on the catastrophic effects of climate change that have becoming more and more obvious in recent years said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director at Greenpeace International. Commentor Jesse Scott (Agora Energiewende) agreed and recommended more coordination of national mechanisms that could be facilitated by non-state actors. Chai Qimin (China National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation) added that the Glasgow Summit marks a new level of involvement of non-state actors and the multi-stakeholder alliances they are able to build.

The conference ended with a stocktaking of the current state of climate negotiations in view of the relations between the US, China and the EU/Germany. Susan Biniaz from the US Department of State stressed the importance of climate protection for the new Administration which made re-joining the Paris Agreement one of its first decisions. In this context, the approach has been more bilateral and not much trilateral yet. Mr. Wang Yi, Member of the Standing Committee of China’s National People's Congress, underlined China’s emphasis on a multilateral approach towards climate policy, and suggested the US, China and the EU should institutionalise their climate dialogue that aims to support developing countries in their efforts. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development described the Glasgow Summit and its results as a success. Especially the fact that the Paris Agreement “rule book” had been finally agreed upon was a big progress. The next steps, said Flasbarth, were less about formulating more goals but to actually implement them.

In this spirit, the conference draw to a close. It has given the participants from the three sides the opportunity not only to exchange views about the Glasgow Summit, but also to discuss other related issues that are often overlooked in the grand context of international summits. FES and SIIS will organise the next Climate Governance Conference in 2023 to follow up on these developments.

 

 

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