Coal, Cars, Cash and Trees

The twenty-sixth United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October to 12 November 2021.

United Kingdom will be hosting COP 26 and Primer Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson has a motto before the meeting: Coal, cars, money and trees.

The UK plans to end coal use in thermal power plants by the end of 2024. It is clear that the UK has made progress in the coal phase out process: as of 2020, coal-fired power plants account for only 1.8% of electricity generation. Until 10 years ago, this rate was 40%[1]. With the last two existing coal-fired power plants to be shut down in 2022 and 2024, the rate of coal use in the UK’s electricity generation will fall to zero. Boris Johnson expects a similar process from all world states: Developed countries are expected to complete the coal phase out process by the end of 2030 and developing countries by the end of 2040.  In this context, the use of coal for energy needs is one of the topics that will be on the agenda at COP 26.

In terms of cars, the green transformation has accelerated in the world. Between April and June 2021, one out of every 12 vehicles sold in Europe was all-electric. If hybrid vehicles with both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor are included in the calculation, this rate rises to up to one third[2]. It is clear that there is a great transformation going on, but this is not enough. The UK had planned to ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2040, but it has been pushed further to 2030. The European Union will also end the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2035. At this point, one of the issues to be discussed at COP26 is that other participants make similar commitments.

Money is perhaps the most controversial topic. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change envisaged that developed countries would provide  $100 billion in financing each year to help developing countries achieve their green transformation. This financing has not yet been provided: the G-7 countries have failed to provide $ 100 billion in financing. Such a situation creates a question mark in other states that are parties to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is clear that the financing problem will be discussed in detail in COP 26.

Finally, the importance of forests in fighting against climate change is indisputable. Large-scale forest fires that the Amazon forests have experienced in recent years have also recently begun to occur in the Mediterranean geography. The main task that forests provide in the fight against global warming is not only to act as a carbon sink. In the new lands opened as a result of deforestation, emission-intensive activities such as agriculture and animal husbandry are carried out, which alone accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world[3]. That is why it is so important that the forests remain intact. A net-positive policy on forests, that is, policies on planting a large number of trees from disappearing trees, will be on the table at COP 26.




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