Don't forget climate change

Don't forget climate change

Long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the planet will continue to grapple with the existential threats posed by climate change.

The COVID health crisis unavoidably relegated global warming to the backseat. COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, hopes to get global warming back on the agenda of governments even as they grapple with a still raging killer pandemic.

Debates on measures to reduce global warming have always been contentious. COP26 hopes to secure commitments from participants for ambitious emission reduction targets by 2030.

While there is little argument over the need to stop deforestation, there is pushback on timetables set for the phase-out of coal, which is a cheap source of energy for developing states. Advanced economies are being urged to do more in reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. Switching to electric vehicles and increasing investments in renewables are also meeting resistance from those who balk at the initial high investment that is required.

COP26 is hoping to get countries to work together to protect and restore ecosystems as well as build defenses, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture. Developed countries have committed to mobilize at least $100 billion in climate finance annually by 2020. COVID-19 has surely affected this commitment, but it must be put back on track.

The Philippines, identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, has a large stake in seeing the COP commitments carried out. The country itself must do its own homework in attaining the climate change conference objectives. Every country and every person on the planet has a role to play in confronting climate change, even in the middle of a deadly pandemic.