President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech (9:39 min) to the COP15 delegates a few hours ago. Xi pledges US$232m ("The Kunming Biodiversity Fund) for protection of world biodiversity:
That fund is intended for developing nations. Poor countries represented in the COP15 need the bulk of that fund. They are more concerned about feeding their own people than about protecting biodiversity.
Other notable China pledges in Xi’s address today:
- Carbon neutrality (net-zero carbon dioxide emissions) by 2060
- 65% carbon (CO2) emission reduction (from 2005 level) by 2030
- A massive wind and solar renewable energy project underway
(Being built in the desert, the first phase will generate 100 gigawatts of clean energy; equivalent to a year worth of electricity generated by 25 million US homes. Four times the energy output of Three Gorges Dam. Enough to rival all solar & wind power in India.)
- Touched on the “30 by 30” goal, but didn’t specify China’s commitment to protecting 30% of land and oceans by 2030. (Currently, 18% of land are under conservation protection in China)
For many of the 195 participating countries in this conference, elected officials do not have at their disposal China’s deep war chest and toolbox for implementation, nor the luxury of muscle flexing until 2030 or beyond. Reelections may be just around the corner. Appeasing voting constituents, rival factions, and lobbyists/business interests are all on their plates, like tossed salad.
YaXu5: "nor the luxury of muscle flexing until 2030 or beyond. Reelections may be just around the corner"
I doubt that for example any EU country is going to commit to this kind of treaty without EU itself acting as proxy for it, and EU making that commitment on behalf of the member nations - details being subject to debates within EU first of course.
Subsequently most countries within EU (poke Poland) place EU directives above their national legislation, and as such national elections generally have no lawful relevance to continued commitments to EU level treaties - save exiting EU altogether, in extreme cases.
I don’t doubt the resolve of your home nation, Finland, which aims to become carbon-neutral by 2035. An ambitious net-zero target that is decades ahead of the pack. In general, Nordic countries are spearheading the green movement for the world to follow.
If only the European Union as a whole embodied their Northern neighbors' level of urgency.
To the EU’s credit, they’ve just proposed the doubling of external funding for biodiversity. Yet, how stringent was the EU body on member nations for infractions and noncompliance of the 20 biodiversity treaty provisions set a decade ago in Aichi, Japan?
Most of the signed provisional targets set by the CBD fell short due to the lack of implementation. Accountability measures should be safeguarded this coming decade to ensure commitments to Kunming Declaration will be implemented. A message not just directed at the EU, but for all COP15 delegates, including the host nation.
What isn’t said often reverberates the loudest. The absence of the US at the COP15 sticks out like a sore thumb. After all, they are the second largest CO2 emitter in the world after China.
The US is slated to return to the UN environmental council under the Biden administration. A seat at the table the Americans relinquished under the previous Trump administration. How will the musical chairs play out if the Republicans reclaim the WH or Congress in ‘24? What about the mortal enemy of the Amazon rainforest in Bolsonaro and his reelection bid in ‘22?
These are the shifting tides of political impermanence I had in mind. To a lesser extent the 27 EU member states.
I assume the US, the UK, and the EU will be more actively involved in COP26. A climate change conference to be held in their relative backyard of Glasgow, Scotland later this month under the presidency of the UK.
I believe that at the time of Aichi conference in 2010, many European countries were already struggling to implement and manage their commitments to Europe's own "Natura 2000" program, which was agreed way back in 1992, a year before EU in its current form even existed.
Like I stated in earlier comment, in this kind of matters EU countries have the benefit of having an entity above their national governments, that they cannot simply ignore when inconvenient. There have been infringements, but also legal means to address those.
Few other countries have this. I would say that above all, PRC (and the ruling party here) would not accept any external (or internal) force to bind her sovereignty that way.