Yes, Cop26 could have gone further – but it brought us ever closer to a 1.5C world | James Shaw

Llike many others I would have liked to have seen a stronger result from Cop26. But we must not forget that much was achieved – and the end result brings us much closer to where we need to be than where we were a few weeks ago.

For the first time, the countries agreed to take action against fossil fuels. Yes, it could have gone further – but let’s not forget that never before has a single word been said about fossil fuels in any police agreement. So the agreed text is essential.

We also reached consensus on a number of unresolved issues from Paris, such as the complex issue of how countries can work together to reduce emissions. It may not seem like much, but the fact that countries have agreed on a set of rules to ensure real emission reductions worldwide is really important.

In short, Cop has almost brought us closer to being on the road to a 1.5C world. Estimates range from 1.8C to 2.4C. A year ago we looked north at 3.5C.

The window of opportunity to achieve that is vanishingly small, but it is still there. The critical thing is this: Whether we seize the remaining chance we have depends on the political will to conduct domestic efforts at home.

It was very encouraging to see the world’s two largest sources of greenhouse gases – China and the United States – signal their intention to work together again to reduce emissions.

And right now, President Biden is pushing a domestic spending plan that includes a whopping $ 550 billion for climate action.

This is the level of commitment we need to see in developed countries around the world. Of course, not everyone has the consumer power of the United States, but we must all do everything possible to turn ambitions into action.

Here in Aotearoa, we intend to lead by example and show the world what a meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate effort looks like.

Prior to Cop26, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and I announced an updated nationally set contribution target to halve the emissions New Zealand is responsible for by 2030. Achieving this target will require many changes, large and small, which together will add over time. up to a better, cleaner future.

These changes will be felt across the political and economic spectrum – in energy, transport, waste, agriculture, construction and financial services. That is why we are taking an “all-of-government” approach to climate action, which in my opinion means that every minister is now climate minister.

And there is no part of our country, no business, no community, no family, whose future will not somehow be shaped by the decisions we make in the coming decade.

So it is crucial that we ensure a fair transition that leaves no one behind. We will only have had success with our mission if we move to our low-emission future in a way that also helps liquidate existing patterns of inequality.

Our next step in tackling climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand will build on the results we have already recorded. In recent years, we have adopted legislation requiring all listed companies and large financial institutions to report on their climate-related risks.

We have upgraded schools, hospitals, universities and companies to run on clean energy instead of dirty coal. And we’ve made it easier for families to buy emission cars.

But is that enough? Not even close. We have a long way to go, but we know where to go. The same goes for countries around the world. Following the agreements reached at Cop26 and the established framework, there is no longer room for apologies. It’s time to act.

As I said in New Zealand’s national declaration in Glasgow, since we collectively recognized the need to start reducing emissions 30 years ago, the world has only managed to double the amount of carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere since the beginning of The industrial revolution. .

And in all that time, our political leaders knew what was going on – science has been ready for a long time. They had a chance to stop it, but they did not.

And then it falls to us – right here, right now.

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