Not only India, China, Russia and Turkey. We know that they are less ready and involved in the fight against climate change, so much so that the COP26 did not adhere to the agreement signed by over 100 states for a 30 percent reduction in methane emissions compared to 2020 levels by 2030. The point is that even the European Union, the first continent to indicate the goal of reaching climate neutrality in 2050, does not appear compact to the so-called ‘Global methane pledge’. The new global initiative, presented yesterday in Glasgow by Ursula von der Leyen and Joe Biden, was not signed by eight member countries of the Union: Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania.
The new plan commits the signatories – which represent 70 per cent of world GDP – to reduce methane losses into the atmosphere during the extraction, transport and use of gas and to develop and use the best available methodologies to monitor and quantify methane emissions, with particular attention to high-emission sources. This is an important contribution to keeping global warming within a 1.5 degree increase. The president of the European Commission and the president of the US have in fact exhibited it as a flagship of the commitment of Brussels and Washington against climate change. But even the EU, despite having signed the new program as the European Commission and as the European Council, therefore with the basic approval of all the member countries, does not appear to be compact. Because membership is also individual and eight states have said no.
Precisely the ‘Global methane pledge’ brings out the differences in approach between the 27 states of the Union, which are not proceeding at the same speed in climate action. Eastern member countries, for example, are the most dependent on coal and thus furthest behind in the transition. Poland is even threatening not to implement the ‘Fit x 55’, the European Commission’s package of legislative proposals on energy and climate, if Brussels does not release funds from its recovery plan, ‘frozen’ for violations of the rule of law. Now Warsaw is together with Budapest, but also Vienna and the others to hold back on the initiative to reduce methane emissions.
The European Union has a virtuous position in the fight against climate change, but it must deal with its own internal divisions, on this dossier as on others. In short, it is not enough to blame the countries of the Eastern bloc, which are not very cooperative on the issue. Allegations that are not accepted in the east. But while at the G20 in Rome the Italian presidency entrusted to Mario Draghi made sure not to explode the tensions, to make the most of multilateral negotiations, in Glasgow the tension is exploding all right.
“We disagree”, thunders Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, responding to Biden’s criticism of Putin’s (and Xi Jiping’s) absence in Scotland (as in Rome, for that matter). “Its tundra is burning, literally. He is facing very, very serious climate problems, but he remains silent ”, is the accusation of the US president. Russia’s actions against global warming “are coherent, thoughtful and serious – Peskov replies – The tundra is really burning. But let’s not forget that forests are also burning in California, Turkey and other parts of the world. We are certainly not minimizing the importance of what is happening in Glasgow ”, but“ Russia’s climate actions are not regulated by this or that event ”.
Russia is committed to achieving climate neutrality only in 2060, like China. India even in 2070. The formula of zero emissions by ‘mid-century’, found at the G20 in Rome, is used to find a compromise between West and East and perhaps also to meet the most recalcitrant European countries, those that certainly do not have toasted when the Union proclaimed its 2050 target.