Climate Promises Made In Glasgow Now Rest With A Handful Of Powerful Leaders

The United Nations global conference on climate change closed Saturday with a hard-fought agreement that calls on countries to return next year with stronger emissions-reduction targets and promises to double the money available to help countries cope with the effects of global warming. Even if countries fulfill all the emissions promises they have made, they still put the world on a dangerous path toward a planet that will be warmer by some 2.4 degrees Celsius by year 2100, compared to preindustrial times. A relative handful of political leaders around the world — in capital cities such as Washington, Beijing and New Delhi — hold much of the influence over whether those promises are kept and the arc of warming can be sufficiently bent away from disaster. But they face a complex combination of pressures: industry interests that stand in the way of regulations, demands from developing countries for money to help them transition away from fossil fuels, and an increasingly vocal movement among citizens to rein in emissions more quickly and deliver what they call climate justice. For businesses, the biggest effect from the Glasgow climate meeting is likely to come from an accord that was announced on the sidelines: A coalition of the world’s biggest investors, banks and insurers that collectively control $130 trillion in assets pledged to use that capital to hit “net zero” emissions targets in their investments by 2050.

By Somini Sengupta. New York Times. November 14, 2021.

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