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    How to seize the last opportunity for the world to work together to effectively tackle climate change?

    Affected by the COVID-19, the annual United Nations Climate Conference will be postponed. The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally scheduled to be held in Glasgow, UK in November 2020, will be postponed to 2021. Therefore, the unfinished agenda left at the Madrid Climate Conference (COP25) in Spain in 2019-the negotiation of Article 6 of the "Market Mechanism" of the Paris Agreement and the implementation of funding arrangements and climate commitments before 2020 will be at least Delay for another year.

    The COVID-19 is not all bad news. A report jointly issued by the University of East Anglia, the University of Exeter, and the Global Carbon Project in December 2020 shows that due to the contraction of human economic activities due to the COVID-19, global greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by about 2.4 billion tons in 2020, compared with 2019 The annual decline was 7%, the largest decline in record time.

    However, the climate change situation is already very serious. According to the interim report "The State of the Global Climate in 2020" issued by the World Meteorological Organization, although various countries have adopted various measures to prevent and control the COVID-19, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has continued to rise. From January to October 2020, the average temperature is about 1.2 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) baseline. In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the "IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius", which stated that according to the current level of human greenhouse gas emissions, the global temperature rises by 0.2±0.1 degrees Celsius every ten years. As long as the trend remains unchanged, the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius will be reached between 2030 and 2052. "We are not on the right track yet and still need more work." World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that the probability that the global average temperature will be 1.5 degrees Celsius temporarily higher than pre-industrial levels by 2024 is at least one fifth.

    Five years ago, 196 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change reached the Paris Agreement in Paris, and the agreement came into effect in less than a year. The long-term goal of this second legally binding climate agreement document after the Kyoto Protocol is to control the global average temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius compared with the pre-industrial period, and strive to control the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

    The "Paris Agreement" is considered to be the last opportunity for the world to unite effectively to combat climate change, "a landmark historic achievement." In the previous 30 years, climate change negotiations have experienced many setbacks. In 1997, the parties to the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" passed the "Kyoto Protocol" in Japan, requiring developed countries to take responsibility for reducing carbon emissions. After that, whether developed and developing countries should take responsibilities under legal binding force has always been the focus of disputes at every climate conference.

    Compared with the "Kyoto Protocol," the "Paris Agreement" has formed a bottom-up climate governance framework acceptable to all countries, incorporating actions of developing countries, and emphasizing "common but differentiated" responsibilities, that is developing country raises its emission reduction targets according to its own conditions, and gradually achieves absolute or limited emission reductions; developed countries are also required to undertake the obligation to provide funds to developing countries every year to help developing countries embark on a low-carbon green road and strengthen The ability to respond to the impact of climate change, and make arrangements for global response to climate change after 2020.

    On the other hand, although the "Paris Agreement" puts forward the goal of global climate governance, it does not directly allocate emission reduction tasks to countries, but instead submits "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDC). On this basis, review results and update goals every five years. Therefore, the "Paris Agreement" has no mandatory binding force and no punitive measures. It is called "lack of minions". This also laid the groundwork for the later embarrassment-the promises made by countries in Paris were not sufficient to achieve the above goals, and even the existing promises were difficult to fulfill.

    "Five years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, we still have not been able to move in the right direction." On December 12, 2020, UN Secretary-General Guterres summed it up at the climate ambition summit convened by the United Nations.

    Looking back five years later, is mankind on the right track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement? How far are we from its goal? What are the attitudes and actions of the major parties to the agreement over the past five years? What are the highlights of the Glasgow Climate Conference 2021?

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