THE HAGUE, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- With the world already lagging behind in curbing global warming, the international community should use the Glasgow climate conference as an opportunity to make new commitments and take ensuing concrete actions, experts say.
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is set to open on Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland, where countries are expected to reach new consensus on further curbing carbon emissions.
EXPECTATIONS NOT HIGH
"My expectations are not very high," Leo Meyer, a former project leader at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and current director of the Netherlands-based ClimateContact Consultancy, told Xinhua in an interview.
"At the moment we are more on the way to 3 degrees (Celsius) global warning instead of 1.5 degrees. Hopefully that will improve when a number of countries on the spot in Glasgow come with improved national contributions."
During the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, countries agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and aim to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Moreover, countries were committed to bringing forward national plans setting out how much they would reduce their emissions, called Nationally Determined Contributions.
"So far it doesn't look good," Meyer said. "In addition to the degrees Celsius, we need better agreements about money. That is a stumbling block to get parties involved. The pressure is very high, higher than ever."
IMPLEMENTATION IS KEY
Sible Schone, advisor of climate bureau HIER, a Dutch foundation focusing entirely on climate change, told Xinhua that negotiations at the upcoming Glasgow conference will not be easy, but the implementation of commitments will be key.
"Besides the commitments that will surely come, we also need the practical implementation," Schone added. "This summit is about objectives, but implementation is much more complicated."
He noted that it is not impossible to replace coal-fired power stations with gas, but really major changes like speeding up the switch to electric vehicles, changes in air travel, etc. are much more difficult to achieve.
"At this summit I do foresee commitments approaching 2 degrees, but the real problem is whether these commitments will become practice," Schone said.
ACTION EXPECTED FROM RICH COUNTRIES
At present, more is expected from rich and developed countries to set an example by translating targets into fast action.
"The Netherlands and the European Union have made a significant commitment to a 55 percent CO2 reduction by 2030," Schone said. "That is a commitment and the European Commission has also made clear proposals to reach that in terms of measures."
"But talks have yet to start about that. Europe must also take an extra step for acceleration. In addition, if the United States fails to make a hard commitment, the summit has a problem. I am not very optimistic," Schone said.
CHINA IN "FANTASTIC POSITION"
"China is in a fantastic position to win the race to the top of the world in terms of sustainability," said Meyer. "They have excellent scientists, universities, good projects, all knowledge and possibilities are available."
"China has gold in its hands to make energy more sustainable. But yes, the current economic growth figures are a bottleneck ... in the long term it is possible," Meyer added.
China has announced that it will strive to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, which means that it has to realize an unprecedented reduction in carbon emissions and move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality faster than any nation in history.
"It is clear that China is taking steps," Schone said. Enditem