COP26: Africa wants adaptation objectives to climate change

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What can African countries expect from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) which opens Sunday, October 31 in Glasgow? While the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere crossed a new record in 2020, attention will above all be focused on the commitments of the major emitting countries.

“Current commitments lead to a global warming of 2.7 ° C, but it is 4 ° C to 5 ° C in Africa. This is not acceptable, the major issuing countries must review their copy ”, asks Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in charge of climate negotiations.

After the cancellation of the conference in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, governments had an additional year to formalize their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and submit their “contribution to the convention. nationally determined ”(NDC).

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The proposed efforts fall far short of keeping the average rise in global temperatures below 1.5 ° C, the target set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. This worrying trajectory gives delegates legitimate arguments. Africans to bring the issue of adaptation back to the center of discussions. The longer the main emitting countries delay in meeting their commitments, the more difficult and costly the adaptation will be.

“This is a major issue for Africa. Its future is directly linked to the ability of polluting countries to bridge the gap between the 1.5 ° C threshold, while the continent has contributed very little to global warming. [ 4 % des émissions mondiales]. This vulnerability, shared with the small island states, gives the voice of Africans significant moral weight in the negotiations ”, underlines Lola Vallejo, head of the climate program at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Iddri).

Fall in agricultural yields

The Africa group will thus attempt to include on the negotiation agenda the adoption of a “global adaptation objective” intended to move along concomitantly with the emission reduction objectives of the States.

“The Paris agreement provides for a balance between the funding granted to reduce global emissions and help countries cope with the climate shock. But we need to go further by setting more precise and more qualitative objectives ”, explains Gabonese Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, president of the group of African negotiators at COP26. Some countries are already putting forward proposals, such as South Africa, which suggests as a goal by 2030 to provide the means to adapt to the impacts of climate change to 50% of the population. Then 90% by 2050.

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COP26: Africa wants adaptation objectives to climate change