Mahatma Gandhi had said, “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results”.
World leaders may do well to remember this saying as they get ready to discuss several prickly issues related to Climate Change at the upcoming COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
Sitting on the fence and hesitating to take any decisions on issues related to Climate – either due to sheer inertia or on the likely apprehension that some of the decisions taken now may, on reflection, decades hence, not appear as the smartest ones to have been made – would not take us anywhere. In fact, indecisiveness at this stage would only enhance the magnitude of the challenges that we face on the Climate front.
For individual developing countries, decision-making would mean firming up a stand on the critical Net Zero issue. Especially on the target date for achieving this milestone and categorically spelling out the pre-conditions for their getting to a net zero scenario, including the quantum of funds that they would require for this purpose. Adopting a play safe strategy by postponing decision-making for as long as possible, even if it is ostensibly for the purpose of eliciting feedback from all key stakeholders on matters connected with Climate Change, may not always yield the results that they are hoping for.
As far as the richer nations are concerned, decision-making would need their moving beyond the rhetoric on providing Climate funding support to the developing countries and walking the talk on the issue. Deciding to make more speeches on how a larger number of countries need to announce more ‘ambitious’ Climate ‘pledges’ can never be an effective substitute for putting money on the ground to meet earlier commitments made to developing nations, something which the advanced countries know only too well.
In an e-mail interaction with R M Consulting a few months back, the UK Cabinet Office had said that it was clear that “COP26 needs to deliver for all countries” (https://rmconsulting.in/thought-leader-insights). Noble as that sentiment is, for the global Climate summit starting a few days from now to be truly fruitful, there can just be no getting away from the fact that all countries must approach COP26 with the mindset to not shy away from taking decisions, however hard those may be.