U.S. Heads to Asia After India Calls on Developed Nations to Begin Removing More Greenhouse Gas Than They Emit (2)

— UN climate talks in November in Glasgow at risk: Sky News

By Mathew Carr

March 31-April 1, 2021 — LONDON: The U.S. said its climate envoy would head to Asia for talks, soon after nations clashed on climate justice and responsibility for the climate crisis.

Countries may need to delay United Nations talks scheduled for November, Sky News reported late yesterday (Wednesday). While Sky cited the Covid-19 pandemic for the potential delay, the comments made by senior government officials Wednesday show there is still tension over a way forward, after meetings held earlier this week on how to tweak the world’s markets to incentivize emission cuts.

Raj Kumar Singh, minister for power, new and renewable energy for India, said rich countries need to start removing more heat-trapping gas than they are putting into the atmosphere.

Speaking at the IEA net zero summit, Kumar Singh said developing countries need not only energy, but many emissions-intensive goods and buildings, such as skyscrapers. These require huge quantities of chemicals, cement and steel.

Rich countries should not be telling poor nations they need to go to net zero, Singh said. “No sorry, they have to develop. They want a higher standard of living for their people. You can’t stop this.”

Developed countries need to start talking about removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit. “Net negative is what they need to talk about and they need to tell us what they will do by 2030, by 2025. You have to give space to these countries whose present per-capita energy consumption is less than one fifth of the world average.”

So — given the way he constructed his sentence — it’s not precisely clear by when Kumar Singh wants the negative emissions to be hit.

Developing countries can overtake and skip the dirty elements of existing rich-country economies, by using clean hydrogen, for instance, said EU commission vice president Frans Timmermans. He didn’t comment on India’s request for net-negative emissions.

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

The idea of net-negative emissions isn’t new.

Some environmental lobby groups have been calling for the U.S. to hit net negative in the next decade. The world’s biggest economy has the most responsibility for climate change and only 4% of the global population. See this:

http://usfairshare.org/files/US_Climate_Fair_Share_Backgrounder.pdf

The U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry said some nations have more responsibility for the climate crisis and so will have different policies to address it.

He was speaking at IEA summit, before Kumar Singh.

He didn’t name his own country the U.S. But he did mention America didn’t really want to be “scolding” other nations.

Kerry said leaders needed to engage in less “happy talk” on climate action and should begin ambitious programs to cut emissions and adapt to warmer temperatures.

The effectiveness of the 2015 Paris climate deal was at stake. Late yesterday Kerry’s department said he would travel to United Arab Emirates, India and Bangladesh through April 9.

“I am a veteran of the fights over common but differentiated responsibility; that was part of what we fought over in Paris. Paris is a monument to differentiation, because every country wrote its own plan.

“Some countries are resisting, despite the fact we are looking at the biggest job market the world has ever known. Four-to-five billion today are users of energy. It will go up to 9 billion in the next 30 years. This is the greatest economic opportunity we’ve ever had, to build our countries.”

“Will it be the same plan for everybody? No. Do we respect that there are differentiated responsibilities? Yes. But we can’t just willy nilly ignore the next 10 years.”

(Arguably, that’s what the U.S. did during the past four years under President Donald Trump.)

“My plea is for all of us to avoid the happy talk, recognize that this challenge is global. We can do it. That’s what’s exciting,” Kerry said.

Blame over the climate crisis has caused delay on solutions for about 30 years. Yet preparations during the past five years since Paris was struck should now make it easier for UN negotiators to strike a deal on changing markets to finally become more climate friendly. At least that’s the theory.

Earlier story on U.S. stance: https://carrzee.org/2021/03/31/u-s-concedes-some-countries-have-more-responsibility-for-the-climate-crisis-kerry-pleads-for-less-happy-talk/

UN negotiators under pressure: https://carrzee.org/2021/03/29/the-voluntary-carbon-market-is-putting-pressure-on-un-climate-envoys/

Sky story: https://news.sky.com/story/cop26-climate-change-summit-may-have-to-be-postponed-again-or-radically-changed-due-to-covid-12261820

(More to come; adds comments from India, chart, adds additional context Thursday)

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