Energy & Environment

Twenty-four countries say global net-zero goal will fuel inequality

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A coalition of countries accused western economies of eliding their own responsibility for climate change by calling on all countries to reach net-zero emissions.

Ministers for 24 developing and emerging economies, including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam, said in a joint statement that wealthier western economies are “pushing to shift the goalposts of the Paris Agreement” by calling for worldwide net-zero by 2050.

“Demands for ‘Net zero’ emissions for all countries by 2050 will exacerbate further the existing inequities between developed and developing countries,” they wrote. “This new ‘goal’ which is being advanced runs counter to the Paris Agreement and is anti-equity and against climate justice.”

The goals of the Paris agreement, they added, mean that “the historical responsibility for the predominant majority of cumulative anthropogenic emissions since the Industrial Revolution among developed countries must be fully recognized as a key element in determining how such global aspiration will be achieved equitably.”

The coalition noted that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which called for steep emissions cuts to avert catastrophic warming, “revealed that historical cumulative emissions are the cause of the climate crisis that the world faces today.”

The ministers also faulted what they called a lack of financial support by developed nations. Although developed nations agreed in 2010 to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020, the goal was pushed back to 2025 in Paris.

The statement called on developed economies to prioritize full decarbonization by decade’s end while allowing developing countries to meet domestic energy demand.

The joint statement comes just over a week before the beginning of the COP26 international climate summit, where representatives of world governments are set to discuss decarbonization efforts.

China is the world’s single largest emitter, and officials such as U.S. climate envoy John Kerry have frequently said Beijing must cooperate on any major decarbonization efforts. Beijing, however, has pointed to the fact that the country underwent industrialization far more recently than its western counterparts. China has set a goal of net zero emissions by 2060, 10 years after the U.S.’s net-zero target. 

Tags Climate change COP26 John Kerry

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