Countries failing to meet climate vows to face warning in 2023: IEA chief
Countries that fail to meet the climate commitments will receive warnings at the UN's next climate summit slated for 2023, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Nov. 7.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an interview on the sidelines of the COP26 conference, Fatih Birol said the COP26 Presidency appointed the IEA to monitor and report on countries' progress.
Though the Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015 at the COP21 summit and aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, is legally binding, there are no sanctions or penalties on countries that do not fulfill their climate commitments.
Birol underlined that the 2023 summit, set to take place in the UAE, will take stock of countries' performance. "We will track countries' actions and announce if they turn commitments into practice until 2023. We will announce which countries adapt or fall behind their pledges," Birol noted.
"There will be a kind of sanction in terms of warning," he added.
A growing number of countries are committing to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and 2060, with India pledging to reach this level by 2070.
In the first week of COP26, countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Egypt, Spain, Nepal, Singapore, Chile and Ukraine and major international banks committed to effectively end all international public financing of new unabated coal power by the end of 2021.
China and the U.S. did not join the pledges to stop quit coal.
Birol also underlined the importance of climate finance commitments, which he sees as the greatest challenge in the fight against climate change.
In 2009, developed countries committed to a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to carry out meaningful mitigation actions with transparent implementation.
Though this goal was reaffirmed under the Paris Agreement and the parties committed to continue delivering on the goal through 2025, the COP26 Presidency announced ahead of the summit that developed countries would only be able to meet the $100 billion pledge in 2023.
"The developing countries need around $1.1 trillion annually for climate change fight and clean energy transition. Developed nations fail to finance even the $100 billion pledge," Birol said.
Almost 90% of emissions will come from developing and emerging countries but only 20% of the clean energy investment go to these countries, he added.
Birol explained that in developed countries like Japan and those in North America and Europe, energy investments have access to funding, though this is not the case in developing countries and emerging markets.
Underlining that such countries face many barriers in accessing finance, he said that 600 million people in Africa and 1 billion people worldwide had no access to electricity.
"More distressing is that 2.6 billion people in the world use wood and turf for cooking and warming. This is a great problem which leads to respiratory disease in children and women. This disease is one of the most spread three reasons for premature deaths," Birol concluded.