In a nutshell
UN Climate Summit in Glasgow: What Matters

Curbing the threat posed by the greenhouse effect will require binding mitigation measures and drastically higher financial pledges to be agreed upon at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in early November. The Foundation is also on site to shine a spotlight at some key features at the most important climate event of the year.

Robert Bosch Stiftung | October 2021
Aerial view of flooding in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone
Michael

Heat waves, extreme rainfalls, drought: Climate change influences the number and severity of weather extremes. This is no exception in Freetown, the capital of the West African state of Sierra Leone.

2015 saw the international community commit themselves in a historic climate agreement in Paris to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius – and strive to stay below 1.5. But reality has so far fallen significantly short of this ambition. Despite a range of political measures, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. “The climate summit needs to deliver on the Paris targets.,” reasons Dr. Gerrit Hansen, Program Director Climate Change at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “This includes tightening up national climate change plans, especially in the G20 countries, and providing the climate finance that has already been pledged, as well as greater support to help with adapting to the impacts of climate change.” 

Next to a bridge stands the green-lit building where the COP26 is taking place
Tomek Emigrant

This year, government representatives, journalists and climate change activists will meet for the 26th time in this building in Glasgow.

What’s on the agenda at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow?

Alongside tangible measures, such as accelerating the phase-out of coal, increasing investments in renewable energies, and protecting our forests, and their function as carbon sinks, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has two overriding, and vital, objectives. First, an ambitious final declaration should underpin the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and build confidence in this multilateral process. Second, it should raise widespread support for a cross-sectoral transformation to a greenhouse gas neutral society.

What are the key issues?

The UK presidency for this year’s climate summit is firmly committed to meeting the 1.5-degree target. Another central issue on the agenda is the role of nature and nature-based solutions. For instance, binding agreements should be made to ensure improved protection or restoration of key ecosystems in order to adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis. A strong focus will also be on climate justice. In addition to the question of how the 100 billion U.S. dollars in financial support for poorer countries pledged in Paris in 2015 will be raised, another important item on the agenda is how to deal with loss and damage caused by climate change. After all, even if we succeed in stabilizing the climate in the long term, the most severe consequences of climate change in the coming decades will primarily affect those who have played the smallest role in its creation. A further central issue is the concept of a “just transition”, whereby a fair transformation to a climate-neutral society is ensured.

In recent years, the countries party to the Paris Agreement have drawn up a detailed set of rules to implement the climate targets already agreed on in Paris. Glasgow should see the remaining unresolved issues of this Rulebook finally worked out. Here, a central point of contention is international cooperation, particularly with regard to emissions trading, which allows companies and countries to offset greenhouse gas emissions outside their own national borders. The debate on the integrity and creditability of emissions reductions – while highly technical – is vital if we want to achieve climate targets.

One issue largely missing from the agenda is migration as a result of climate change. The World Bank predicts that migration, especially within national borders, will drastically increase by 2050 if we fail to significantly slow the global rise in temperature. Cities, civil society actors, and a number of states will be bringing this issue to Glasgow and advocating for it to receive significantly more attention at the Climate Conference in 2022.

Animals gather beneath the only tree in an arid landscape.
Ricardo Lima

One consequence of climate change: Parched grounds and drought have tragic consequences for people and the environment.

How is the Robert Bosch Stiftung involved in the Climate Conference? 

The Climate Change Conference also constitutes a forum for actors from across the globe to draw attention to their projects and initiatives, as well as to network. Glasgow will see many of the Foundation’s partners present their work. For instance, the Global Landscape Forum  in cooperation with the UK presidency is organizing a three-day conference on “Forests, Food, Finance”, where one of the Foundation’s projects on the restoration of drylands in the Sahel will be presented. The Global Alliance for the Future of Food  is involved in a range of activities relating to climate and food, including the launch of the Glasgow Declaration for Food and Climate. The Climate Justice Resilience Fund  is organizing an extensive program on climate justice, while the international association of mayors, the Mayors Migration Council, will announce an action plan on climate and migration. Foundation representatives will also take part in the Conference. Read more about their contributions here.

What are our priorities in our work on climate change?

Climate change and land use

Alongside phasing out fossil fuels, the land sector plays a central role in protecting the climate: Deforestation, soil erosion, synthetic fertilizers, and factory farming are responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, small-scale farmers in the Global South in particular are already facing the consequences of climate change on a massive scale. A rapid and equitable transformation of how we use land is vital to ensure sustainable development toward a climate-neutral society. We support solutions that protect the climate and ecosystems, build resilience, and address inequality. This involves working internationally, with a geographic focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

Human mobility in the context of climate change

Global climate change is depriving millions of people of their livelihoods and forcing them to leave their homes. Many initially turn to cities to build a new life. Across African cities in particular, rapid urbanization and the impact of climate change are already intersecting, with serious consequences for one of the most vulnerable population groups: migrants. We support stakeholders, largely on the African continent, in developing and implementing innovative and sustainable solutions. We promote dialogue between political, academic, and civil society actors and aim to help integrating scientific findings and practical insights into political processes on climate-induced migration.

Climate justice and a just transition

Both within individual countries and on a global scale, there is a sharp divide between those causing and those affected by the climate crisis. More affluent people and wealthy countries have played a much greater role in heating the atmosphere. At the same time, they are better equipped to deal with the consequences of climate change than the less affluent or socially disadvantaged. As the impacts of the climate crisis further deepen existing inequalities, halting climate change is not least a social issue. We support actors who develop and implement measures to protect the climate while reducing inequalities.