COP26: real progress but a “spectacularly unacceptable” lack of ambition, deplores Philippe Henry

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In a statement, the leader of environmentalists in the Walloon government stressed the importance of continuing to move forward.

For him, the Glasgow Pact is marked by some significant progress, including the reaffirmation of the environmental ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit the temperature rise to 1.5ºC.

“… In the positive aspects of the Glasgow Pact, absent in the Paris Agreement (2015), we must note the reference to the exit from coal and oil. The adopted text calls for “to intensify efforts to reduce coal without capture systems (CO2) and to end inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, added the Walloon Minister.

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One regret, among others from Philippe Henry: International Climate Finance to the tune of 100 billion dollars per year from 2020 has not been achieved so far. The Glasgow Pact invites the parties to double their commitments by 2025. At its level, Wallonia has increased its level of commitment by 50%, from 8.25 to 12.50 million euros as of the year 2022.

“This international funding must be balanced between measures aimed at mitigation (reducing emissions) and those aimed at adaptation. On this last aspect, the final decision of COP26 made it possible to increase funding for adaptation. The aim here is to strengthen the protection of the most vulnerable. This has a particularly important dimension in connection with the climatic events of last July in Wallonia ”, he underlined.

“An important moment”

This is also to be related to the key theme of “Loss and damage”. Minister Henry, who has participated in the COPs since his first term as Minister in 2009, led the negotiations on behalf of the European Union on losses and damages, “an important moment, in relation to the consequences of the July floods in Wallonia” .

According to the Walloon minister, Belgium also played a major role in finalizing the technical rules aimed at operationalizing the Paris Agreement. Those relating to Article 6 concerning cooperation mechanisms and which allow States, and even other entities, to carry out mitigation measures where they are most effective were lacking. “We have taken care to prevent the rules from making it possible to derogate from the implementation of direct measures for the benefit of citizens and their energy consumption and helped to put in place guidelines guaranteeing environmental integrity and avoiding unacceptable social impacts for the most vulnerable. But it will be necessary to remain vigilant in the implementation of this agreement ”, he commented on this subject.

Minister Henry also specified that on the sidelines of the negotiations, he increased the number of meetings (in particular with the countries of the Francophonie, the Benelux or the IRENA agency for renewable energies) as well as the organization and participation in events (eg on green hydrogen or citizen participatory processes).

“In close collaboration with the Walloon Export Agency (AWEX) and Wallonie Bruxelles International (WBI), we have also contributed to an economic component, involving around fifteen Walloon companies, experienced in the field of construction and sustainable building, ”he said.

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