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The countries that could spoil global climate negotiations

SA is among the holdouts without significant plans to curb enormous emissions.
Image: Dhiraj Singh, Bloomberg

More than 190 countries signed on the dotted line of the Paris Agreement in 2015, forming a new global consensus on the imperative to halt rising temperatures. The collective results since then haven’t been enough.

Overall planet-warming emissions have gone up, turning COP26 into the prime venue for asking countries to do more. But some attendees stand out for their reluctance to do almost anything at all. This is a guide to the holdouts who arrive in Glasgow, Scotland, without significant plans to curb their enormous emissions.

Russia
A common link between several holdouts is their abundance of fossil resources, and that’s certainly the case for Russia. There’s a lot of coal, oil and gas the country intends to sell. President Vladimir Putin is so confident even the dirtiest fossil fuel still has a future that he’s spending more than $10 billion on a railroad to ramp up coal exports to Asia. He announced a net-zero goal of 2060 ahead of COP26 without providing details of how that could change Russia’s short-term targets. Officials have instead talked up Russia’s vast forests, but climate experts don’t agree that the trees can stand against all the pollution.

Saudi Arabia
As one of the world’s largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia is almost completely reliant on profits from fossil fuels. It’s also a huge consumer of dirty energy, with one of the highest per-capita carbon footprints in the world. Attempts to diversify the economy in order to clean up its pollution haven’t borne results. Although the country is bathed in some of the world’s best solar and wind resources, it’s been slow to take advantage of clean energy.

Brazil
Brazil is home to both the Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, and to a leader who has few qualms about denying the reality of climate change. President Jair Bolsonaro has opened vast tracts of the forest to beef and soy production and wants other governments to pay the country to stop destroying biodiverse habitats. Without that funding—a crucial subject for negotiators at COP26—he won’t pursue any commitments to reaching net zero emissions.

Australia
Australia falls in the rare category of democratic countries sitting on huge fossil fuel reserves. It’s also among the few rich countries that’s very vulnerable to climate change. Like the U.S., the influence of the coal and gas lobby has made its politics toxic and hamstrung the country from taking any decisive action. Unlike the U.S., however, the country has so far resisted international pressure to make a net-zero commitment.

India
Whenever questions about net zero are raised, the Indian government is quick to remind the world that its per capita emissions are much lower than average. The problem of climate change, it argues, has been created by wealthier countries such the U.S. and the U.K., which spewed billions of tons of CO₂ while industrializing over the last century. India hasn’t pledged to eliminate its emission, making it the only one of the 10 largest economies to refuse. But it can point to its sprawling build-out of renewables backed by a goal to quadruple capacity by 2030.

Iran
The world’s sixth-largest emitter has yet to ratify the Paris agreement. The country faces U.S. sanctions on its nuclear programs and other economic activities. It says if sanctions were removed, it would be open to raising its climate ambition. Like its Saudi neighbor, the country has huge solar and wind resources that could aid its eventual decarbonization.

South Africa
The third-largest economy in Africa is in dire straits. State-owned utility Eskom is struggling to pay down its debt and keep the lights on. President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former head of the nation’s largest mining union, wants to commit to a net-zero by 2050 goal — but also plans to keep burning coal.

South Africa has begun to seek help from rich countries to manage its debt in return for stronger climate commitments.

Mexico
In August a state-owned oil rig burst into flames, and the footage went viral on social media, becoming a visceral symbol of Mexico’s role in a climate catastrophe. The rest of the country isn’t in much better condition: A summer drought covered almost 80% of the country, and the central bank warned of rising farm prices and, more broadly, inflation. The government’s plan to nationalize the power sector could undercut renewables production. Without stronger climate commitments, critics doubt Mexico’s commitment to reducing emissions, especially as it ramps up oil output.

Turkey
Wildfires ravaged Turkey’s ­idyllic ­coastline this summer. But even as its skies turned red, its politicians were largely silent on climate change. The nation in October became the last Group of 20 country to ratify the Paris Agreement, though it wouldn’t commit to aggressive emission cuts. The target for reaching net zero is 2053. Turkey’s neglect of its vast and untapped potential in solar power has puzzled experts. Instead, coal production has risen to reduce dependence on imported natural gas.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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These countries will face the sanction of their counterparts very soon !!!

…I wonder if they will put sanctions on Iceland?

After all the recent volcanic activity that even stopped air travel, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT the globe made in the previous five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet

For politicians and the oddbod teenager to think they can control what happens on the planet, means ego’s incommensurate with their knowledge

Another ice-age is the next cycle, the peak of this warm period was 5 thousand years ago and CO2 is not evil. More people die from the cold than from the heat and only the elites will benefit from archaic regulations

Electric cars will eventually costs the same as petroleum cars in 4 to 6 years time, there are already conversion kits available with more productive units following.

From cheaper solar Roof tiles to mini wind turbines, it’s only a matter of time before mass adoption of renewable become part of the average house hold. Governments are shooting themselves in the foot by not satisfying the demands of power consumers.

The payback of renewables on a house use to be 12 years+ but now it’s less than 4, my folks where quoted R150,000 on their 4 bedroom house that is worth approximately R1,6mil. That represents a 5% price tag which banks will be very willing to finance using Green Bonds.

The case for home owners is particularly strong in SA as the power utility cannot meet the demands whilst cutting power for several hours a day, more and more communities are connecting their houses and reselling their power to business. This type the of micro grids is something which will become very normal, hopefully Tax Authorities will give credits for carbon and this will then have a snow ball effect.

except that Eskom will convince the government to introduce new taxes and levies on people generating their own power to make up for the losses it continues to make. There is no win for consumers, only for government.

What about Europe’s largest oil producer and exporter – Norway???

They are ramping up production and now exploring the Artic areas as well.

Ehh because they still have a population and goverment with that irritating and racist thing called
“competence”
that keeps Norway from progressing to “green fever enlightenment”

Dont worry competence is trumped by PC so well on its way out everywhere

You can’t call out African’s using coal then be one of the largest producers of oil and gas and try hide that.

Norway is complicit in climate catastrophe, competently.

Uhm sure I missed the part where Norway was calling on Africa to change.,.,

Something to think about while you smoke your pipe….

When the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth

Source?
a paper by (Gerlach et al 1996) puts the Mt Pinatubo Co2 emissions at about 42 million tons, compared with the human emissions that year of 22 Billion tons, volcanoes pale into comparison.

If you are talking about the aerosols that where released they actually have a short term cooling effect.

Re the sub-title: South Africa is arguably without robust plans for anything. Of greater concern should be the loss of capacity, especially intellectual capital, experience, social cohesion and ethical leadership, to repair and build the country.

Wealthy countries are lining up to fund our green energy projects but Gwede Mantashe refuses to to move away from coal-fired power stations, and we have to ask WHY this is.

End of comments.

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