China, U.S. pledge to enhance climate cooperation at UN talks:


Why in the news?

The world's top two carbon polluters, China and the United States, pledged to increase their cooperation on climate action in a joint declaration issued at U.N. climate talks in Glasgow.

Key highlights:

  • To accelerate the emissions reductions required to meet the temperature goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Governments agreed in Paris to jointly cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, with a more stringent target of trying to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius ( 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Steps were agreed on a range of issues, including:

  • Methane emissions.
  • The transition to clean energy.
  • De-carbonisation.

What is COP26 and why is it happening?

  •  COP stands for "Conference of the Parties".
  • The world is warming because of emissions from fossil fuels used by humans, like coal, oil and gas.
  • Extreme weather events linked to climate change including heat waves, floods and forest fires are intensifying. The past decade was the warmest on record and governments agree urgent collective action is needed.
  • For COP26, 200 countries have been asked for their plans to cut emissions by 2030. 
  • Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, countries were asked to make changes to keep global warming "well below" 2C - and to try to aim for 1.5C - in order to prevent a climate catastrophe.
  • The goal is to keep cutting emissions until they reach net zero in 2050.

other developments at the COP26 climate summit:

  • A draft of a final COP26 deal was announced, with countries being urged to strengthen carbon-cutting targets by the end of 2022. 
  • Dozens of countries have promised to phase out petrol and diesel-powered cars but the US, China and Germany haven't signed up. A number of major manufacturers - including Ford and Mercedes - have pledged commitments too.
  • Climate change is one of the world's most pressing problems. Governments must promise more ambitious cuts in warming gases if we are to prevent greater global temperature rises.

Additional Information:

In October,  India along with Australia, UK in collaboration with small island developing states (SIDS), have planned to launch a new initiative “Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS)”, on the side-lines of the Conference of Parties (COP26).

  • The platform is aimed at creating a coalition for putting in place infrastructure that can withstand disasters and lessen economic losses in island nations.
  • The IRIS initiative will be launched with an initial funding of $10 million from Australia, India and the UK.
  • The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) is scheduled to take place from October 31 to November 12, 2021
  •  More countries including Japan are expected to contribute to the initiative.

What are Small Island developing states (SIDS)?

  • Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of UN regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.
  • SIDS accounts for two-thirds of the countries in the world that suffer the highest relative losses due to disasters. According to the Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, infrastructure investment deficit in the Pacific and the Caribbean SIDS is $42 billion and $46 billion, respectively, over a period of 2015-2040.

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