Global climate talks are set to resume this week, with the United Kingdom hosting the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – or COP26. It’s being called the most important climate summit since 2015 when the Paris Agreement was struck. However, the conference’s success is already in doubt, with major polluters like China and India not yet committing to more ambitious national goals.
Meanwhile, Canada will be sending a new representative to the UN conference, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointing a new environment minister. The prime minister’s new cabinet puts former environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson at Natural Resources and assigns former environmental advocate Steven Guilbeault to the Environment role.
The UN climate talks will be off to a rocky start, with this week’s announcement that developed countries have fallen short of their climate aid commitment to poorer countries. Developed countries had aimed to contribute $100 billion in annual assistance by 2020, to help poorer countries adapt to the effects of climate change and help reduce emissions. It’s reported that the $100B goal won’t be reached until 2023.
The province of British Columbia released a new climate roadmap earlier this week. The plan pledges to increase the price on carbon pollution, potentially beyond the federal price, and to nearly eliminate industrial methane emissions, among other actions. The plan aims to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, in line with national targets. Critics point out that BC’s emissions have been rising and that the province has not hit previous targets.
South of the border, the Biden administration is struggling to move its ambitious climate agenda. A massive $3.5-trillion-dollar spending package, which targets clean energy and infrastructure, has been held up in Congress, with West Virginia democratic senator Joe Manchin holding the deciding vote and kyboshing the ambitious package. The Biden administration is now said to be closing in on a spending bill about half the size.
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