François Gemenne
External member of DPAM’s Fixed Income Advisory Board (FISAB)

Guiomar Arias
Marketing & Communication Coordinator DPAM

We have seen a lot in the press about the COP26 outputs and climate finance debates. Many players and actors have expressed their concerns, their disappointments and the lack of concrete action after the end of the negotiations.

In order to take some perspective and go in-depth on specific elements of the summit and the pathway going forward from a geopolitical and environmental expert’s point of view, we have interviewed François Gemenne, researcher and climate & migration specialist, professor at the University of Liege, lead author of the IPCC and external member of DPAM’s Fixed Income Advisory Board (FISAB)

According to François Gemenne, we must qualify COP26 as a failure since the key objective has not been reached, however he adds it could have been much worse: “The higher the expectations, the bigger the disappointment”.

If we look at the sequence of the different COPs over the years, the results of the COP26 have been significantly better than the ones of COP25 or COP26. There has been considerable progress in matters as the public subsidies to fossil fuels for instance. But the main concern or “elephant in the room” remains: the fact that as of today the countries commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions are not aligned with the objectives of the Paris agreement.

And this is precisely the issue to tackle, not only the fact that these countries agreements are not enough to reach the objectives but more importantly, the fact that they are not respected. If we want to keep the increase of the global temperature of the planet below 2°, we need these commitments to be upgraded and respected.

On the positive side, he observed many relevant announcements on the margins of the negotiations. Important agreements were reached through smaller coalitions and alliances between governments. They represent significant progress on issues such as coal, methane, or deforestation. These are paving the way to a new format of negotiations that will break away from the rule of consensus.

From the geopolitical perspective, the tensions between Industrialized economies and Emerging countries remain considerable (the so-called South-North debate), especially regarding the impacts of climate change on the Global South (the hardest hit), resulting in the climate migration and all the issues related with this reality.

As geopolitical expert, François Gemenne considers that COP26 was very much focused on mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions. The impacts of climate change were little considered, becoming the key reason for the increasing resentment from developing countries. They feel neglected as their needs of funding and adaptation are not being addressed properly.

Gemenne insists on the fact that the only way to succeed in the negotiations is the trust between the Global South and industrialized economies and an equitable agreement. If the sense of equity is not achieved, his conviction is that we are doomed to fail.

To conclude the interview, as external member of the FISAB, the committee responsible for DPAM’s proprietary model that assesses the sustainability of countries, Gemenne summarizes during the interview how these challenges for emerging economies could be integrated in and become part of the model.

He concludes with a message calling for international cooperation to achieve a more sustainable future.


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