The world is at a critical juncture when it comes to tackling climate change. The burning of fossil fuels has been identified as one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, leading to global warming and its disastrous consequences. In recent years, there has been a growing consensus among world leaders and policymakers that urgent action is needed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. The Glasgow – Sharm el-Sheikh work program on the global goal of adaptation, established and launched at COP26, aims to represent a turning point in the world’s journey to both make and measure progress towards this global goal. It brought together leaders from around the world to discuss and commit to actions that would limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It is the first pact to explicitly plan to reduce coal and mention the word fossil fuel for the first time. One of the key objectives of the pact was to accelerate the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. But is the reduction of fossil fuel a myth or a reality? Let’s take a closer look at the Glasgow Pact to find out.
BE ALL TALK
However, the pact was more focused on “what” than “how” to achieve this ambitious goal. It was nevertheless seen as a crucial step towards achieving a sustainable and carbon-neutral future. The final agreement highlights that “US$4 to $6 trillion a year needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030, however, no real development is seen post 3 years of COP-26 agreement. Are all these climate convention meetings just turning into a place of big talks and no results? The faith in United Nations and diplomacy is deteriorating for the worse. Commitments were also made regarding deforestation and climate finance but being a pact, it was not legally binding. One major reason for the Conference of Parties’ failure is the lack of penance.
FOSSIL FUELS THE DEBATE
However, some critics argue that the reduction of fossil fuels is merely a myth, pointing to the slow progress made in the past and the ongoing reliance on coal, oil, and gas. They argue that despite the commitments made at the Glasgow Pact, many countries are still heavily invested in fossil fuel industries and continue to prioritize short-term economic gains over long-term sustainability.
While it is true that the transition away from fossil fuels is a complex and challenging task, there are promising signs that indicate a shift toward renewable energy sources. Many countries have set renewable energy targets and significantly invested in wind, solar, and hydropower projects. The declining costs of renewable technologies have also made them more economically viable, leading to their increased adoption worldwide. There are certain qualities of fossil fuel which is difficult to replace, “Electrify Everything” motto doesn’t work always because of low heat emission and energy density. However, the scientific problems can be solved by adopting various methods of carbon capture, the main problem is political.
The world is not investing enough in fossil fuels to meet its future energy needs, and uncertainties over policies and demand trajectories will create a strong risk of future volatility in energy markets. Post covid the demand for fossil fuel especially crude oil has increased due to the Russia-Ukraine war, a reduction in supply, and the opening of businesses post-lockdown. Nations don’t have sufficient renewable energy and infrastructure to replace fossil fuels and this is causing a reduction in reinvestment in the development of renewable energy. Governments can reduce carbon pollution by removing fossil fuel subsidies and using taxes to raise the cost of consumption. Still, higher prices are often unpopular and difficult to sustain, rather government can increase subsidies on renewable energies and promote the same. Additionally, there has been a surge in public awareness and concern regarding climate change, putting pressure on governments and industries to take action. The divestment movement, which encourages institutions and individuals to withdraw their investments from fossil fuel companies, has gained traction and is sending a powerful message to the industry that the world is ready for a transition.
Finance is still the major problem for climate action, especially for developing and underdeveloped countries. The finance needs to be of 2 types- Public finance for the development of infrastructure required for the transition to a greener and more climate-resilient economy and
Private finance to fund technology and innovation, and to help turn billions of public money into trillions of total climate investments. Many developed countries like the UK have pledged 11.6 billion pounds over the next 5 years. An elaborate discussion on climate finance was later done in the COP-27 session. Nations have pledged to make the public finance system stronger to withstand the impacts of climate change and support the transition to net zero.
FACE THE REALITY
The Glasgow Pact itself can be seen as a reality rather than a myth, as it represents a collective commitment by countries to address the urgent need for carbon reduction. The fact that leaders from diverse nations came together and agreed on the importance of reducing fossil fuel reliance is a significant step forward. The pact includes provisions for increased international cooperation, funding for climate resilience and adaptation, and a focus on supporting vulnerable communities most affected by climate change. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that the reduction of fossil fuels will not happen overnight. It requires a comprehensive approach that involves transitioning to renewable energy sou, implementing energy efficiency measures, promoting sustainable transportation systems, and fostering green innovations. To ensure the success of the Glasgow Pact, continued efforts and collaborations are necessary. Governments must follow through on their commitments and implement policies that support the transition away from fossil fuels. Industries need to embrace sustainable practices and invest in clean technologies. Individuals must make conscious choices to reduce their carbon footprints and advocate for change.
In conclusion, the reduction of fossil fuels is neither a complete myth nor an immediate reality. It is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires global cooperation and sustained effort. The Glasgow Pact represents a significant step towards addressing this challenge, but its success will ultimately depend on the actions taken by governments, industries, and individuals worldwide. By embracing renewable energy, prioritizing sustainability, and fostering innovation, we can pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
Author(s) Name: Ruchi Baid (OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat)