COP26, day 7: “Coal, cars, cash and trees”

Find every day at the end of the day the highlights of the 26e Conference of the Parties [COP] for the climate of the United Nations, which will be held until November 12, as well as the insights of the journalists of the World.

  • What to remember: British presidency welcomes, IAEA praises atomic merits

The first week of COP26 recorded commitments on deforestation, the exit from coal or the raising of billions of dollars for green investments, widely promoted by the British presidency of the world climate conference. But according to observers, there is a gulf between these proclamations and the emission reductions to be achieved to meet the objectives of the Paris agreement: to keep the rise in temperatures compared to the pre-industrial era below + 2. ° C, if possible 1.5 ° C.

In this UN conference, the British organizers have their own program, summarized by Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “Coal, cars, cash and trees”. Either gradually eliminate polluting fuels and thermal combustion vehicles, mobilize money to help the world decarbonize and protect forests. According to a spokesperson for the British organization of the COP, the first week has, in fact, seen “A real boost for climate action”.

But for Mohamed Adow, director of the Nairobi-based Power Shift Africa climate think tank, there has been “Two realities”. “One is the world of UK government press releases announcing a plethora of initiatives suggesting that all is well and that we have almost solved the climate crisis”, he told Agence France-Presse. “The other reality is outside of this PR bubble. The climate is the facts. »

Carried by the climate argument, the defenders of nuclear energy, starting with the boss of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), world policeman of the atom, came for their part to promote its merits to the COP26 in Glasgow. “This COP is perhaps the first where nuclear energy has a chair at the table, where it was considered and was able to exchange without the ideological burden that existed before”, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s director general, to AFP. After the post-Fukushima years, which saw reluctance grow and countries turn away, “The wind is turning”, he assures.

Main argument against the backdrop of an unregulated climate: CO emissions2 very limited, linked to uranium extraction and concrete from power plants. In Glasgow, he saw ministers and decision-makers, participated in conferences, explained that these technologies can replace fossil fuels or help to adapt (applications of nuclear research to seeds, mosquitoes, etc.). But the atom carries major risks: accident, unresolved fate of highly radioactive waste for thousands of years, high costs. So many arguments that tirelessly mobilize certain NGOs. But for the boss of the UN agency, the critics do not hold.

China for its part still has a long way to go on the path of ecology and the fight against climate change, said Sunday (November 7), the Council of State Affairs, which is embarking on a new program to fight against climate change. against pollution. As COP26 approaches, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060, with a peak in greenhouse gas emissions in 2030. China is the leading emitter global greenhouse gas emissions.

It also promises by 2030 to reduce carbon intensity (ratio between greenhouse gas emissions and GDP) by more than 65% compared to 2005. “There is still a long way to go in the ecological and environmental protection campaign”, conceded the Council of State Affairs, the equivalent of the central government, in a statement quoted by the New China agency.

The statement of the day:

“I have spent my life planting trees on my land, and it is wonderful to do so here, at the very beginning of this reforestation project. “

Kreta, the leader of the Kaingang people, planted a young oak tree in the Kilfinan Community Forest, a project to reforest the Scottish Highlands.

Picture of the day:

Members of Extinction Rebellion perform a zombie dance in George Square, Glasgow on November 7, 2021.

Around the world :

Since 2017, under the pressure of climate change and the artificialization of soils, scientists have observed a significant regression of the Spanish Catalan coast. They warn of the urgent need to “rethink the coast” and its infrastructures.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Spain, the sea devours the Catalan coast

Words to understand COP26:


Parts per million (ppm) represent the concentration of carbon dioxide molecules relative to other molecules in the air. Today, the average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas emitted by humans, is 413.2 ppm, which means that, out of one million molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere, 413.2 are CO molecules2.

“It’s not just a chemical formula and numbers on a graph. This has massive repercussions on our daily life and well-being, on the state of the planet and on the future of our children and grandchildren ”, warns the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Petteri Taalas.

According to the American climatologist James Hansen, the concentration of CO2 not to be exceeded is around 350 ppm. A limit which was reached shortly before 1990. During the last million years, this content had never exceeded 300 ppm. It was around 270 ppm in the 19th century.e century. At the current rate, human activities are increasing this concentration by about 2 ppm per year.

Read also Climate: greenhouse gas concentrations at their highest in 2020

The number :

$ 100 billion

Or around 86 billion euros. This is the sum that the developed countries had promised to mobilize per year, from 2020, to help developing countries cope with climate change. The bad news is that these countries have yet to deliver on their promise. The good news is that they should achieve this in 2023 and that this target will be exceeded in 2024 and 2025. Despite the three-year delay, the sum of 100 billion could be reached on average between 2021 and 2025, according to a report published by the UK Presidency of COP26, October 25, 2021.

This goal, partly included in the 2015 Paris Agreement, has become the basis of trust between States and one of the engines of climate action. It reflects issues of equity, as developing countries are on the front lines of global warming, for which they are not historically responsible.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Climate: the objective of 100 billion dollars for the countries of the South achievable in 2023

Solutions for the planet:

Like the thirteen million French people who work in offices and spend an average of two hundred days a year there, you fill your “second home” with waste. From 120 to 140 kg per year and per employee in the tertiary sector, three quarters of which is paper. But the environmental footprint does not stop in the trash, as the sources of waste and energy consumption are multiple. Here are some behaviors and reflexes to adopt to be more eco-responsible in the office.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Good reflexes to be greener in the office

Find all the articles in our special COP26 file here.

The World with AFP

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COP26, day 7: “Coal, cars, cash and trees”