Pakistan's Agenda at COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow

Pakistan's contribution to global carbon emissions is less than 1% but it is still ranked among countries most vulnerable to climate change. The energy-hungry nation needs help to finance climate-friendly  development of clean energy sources and climate-resilient infrastructure. Pakistan has provided its NDCs 2021 (national determined contribution 2021) to the United Nations ahead of the 26th conference of parties (COP26) starting today in Glasgow, Scotland. Some of Pakistan's NDC targets are voluntary while others are contingent upon the receipt of financial assistance from the rich nations most responsible for the climate crisis. Some of Pakistan's solution are nature-based such as its Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP) while others require significant increase in low-carbon energy from wind, solar, hydro and nuclear.   

Pakistan NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) For Climate Goa...

 

Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's special assistant on climate change, said recently in an interview with CNN that his country is seeking to change its energy mix to favor green.  He said Pakistan's 60% renewable energy target would to be based on solar, wind and hydro power projects, and 40% would come from hydrocarbon and nuclear which is also low-carbon. “Nuclear power has to be part of the country’s energy mix for future as a zero energy emission source for clean and green future,” he concluded. Here are the key points Aslam made to Becky Anderson of CNN:

1. Pakistan wants to be a part of the solution even though it accounts for less than 1% of global carbon emissions. 

 2. Extreme weather events are costing Pakistan significant losses of lives and property. Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 
3. Pakistan is moving towards renewable energy by converting 60% of its energy mix to renewable by 2030. Electric vehicle (EV) transition is also beginning in his country. 
4. Aslam said:  “We are one of the world leaders on nature based solutions. However, the World Bank (WB) in its Report yesterday came up with really good numbers in a comparison done of countries who are shifting their mainstream development towards environment friendly policies and Pakistan came atop among them,” the SAPM explained. 
Pakistan Power Generation Fuel Mix. Source: Third Pole

Here's a video of Malik Amin Aslam's interview with CNN's Becky Anderson:

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Views: 366

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 7:52am

COP 26: UK pledges over £55m to partner with Pakistan to fight climate change, manage water more sustainably and unlock climate investment
The UK has announced more than £55m of support to help Pakistan tackle climate change as part of the COP26 global climate change summit this week.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cop-26-uk-pledges-over-55m-to-pa...


The UK has announced more than £55m of support to help Pakistan tackle climate change as part of the COP26 global climate change summit this week.

As global leaders come together for COP26, this is a critical time for Pakistan. It has been ranked the 8th most vulnerable country to climate change, and by 2100, rising temperatures mean 36% of glaciers along the Hindu Kush & Himalayan range will be gone.

The UK has already achieved notable successes. 90% of the world’s economy is now covered by net zero targets, up from less than 30% when the UK took on the Presidency of COP26. This will help the most vulnerable countries like Pakistan.

The new funding for climate change in Pakistan is split into three parts:

*A 5-year climate resilience programme - worth £38 million - will help Pakistan’s poorest communities to protect themselves from the changing climate;

*A 5-year water governance programme - worth £15 million – will make water use in Pakistan more sustainable and water access fairer;

*An additional £2.5 million to support new ways of attracting much needed climate investment to Pakistan, including on the development of a Nature Performance Bond. On World Environment Day in June alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan the UK committed to this. The British High Commissioner was due to announce the urgently needed new programmes at a high-level reception for climate change stakeholders at the British High Commission in Islamabad this evening (November 4th).

Dr Christian Turner CMG said: “For Pakistan, climate change could be catastrophic. That is why we are working together on trees and finance, and mobilising leading Pakistani businesses. This £55m new funding will ensure Pakistan becomes more resilient to climate impacts, with more sustainable water use and greater access to climate finance, so improving lives and livelihoods.

On COP26, the UK has been working with Pakistan on:

A #26For26 campaign to have 26 Pakistani companies commit to halving emissions by 2030 and getting to net zero by 2050. 29 companies have so far signed up;
Pakistan successfully joining more than 100 countries to pledge to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.
Even before COP26, the UK had been working closely with Pakistan on climate change, and will provide £7m this year to help the country achieve its climate change objectives. Earlier this year the UK launched a new programme in Lahore to promote cleaner brick production practices which will help improve air quality, reduce smog and fight climate change.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 7:55am

Pakistan unveils ESR climate initiative at COP26 summit

World Bank official lauds measures operational in the areas of climate change and employment in the country

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2327669/pakistan-unveils-esr-climate-i...

GLASGOW:

Pakistan on Wednesday unveiled its innovative Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (ESRI), initiated with a $180 million support from the World Bank, at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The details were revealed at the Pakistan pavilion at the event, organised to bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Pakistan's initiative was launched at the COP25 held in Madrid in 2019, and it is now operational with interventions like honey production and marketing, green jobs, mangrove restoration, expansion of protected areas, and transition to electric vehicles.

ESRI has been placed under National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to align the country with the global climate change agenda through supporting initiatives and projects, and financial and technical requirements.

According to Fawad Hayat, who is leading the initiative through NDRMF, Pakistan will now contribute its share in ecosystem restoration in the next three years by planting 188.88 million trees, providing 79,746 green jobs, managing 60 protected areas, and giving employment to 6,000 nehgaibans (watchers) from the local communities.

Hayat observed that the unique project emerged during the pandemic when people started losing their jobs.

"Inspired by President Johnson’s initiative during the Great Depression, we started the ‘Green Stimulus’ in Pakistan and the World Bank showed great flexibility in re-purposing funds for the nature's protection. The idea was to protect nature and give jobs and we will be fully rolling out the project in the next month,” Malik Amin remarked.

In his remarks during a visit to the pavilion, VP Sustainable Development, World Bank Juergen Voegele, said: “Kudos to the government of Pakistan, which is evolving as a leader by focusing on both climate and Covid."

"This is the way to do it, this is the future, this is green thinking with a comprehensive approach to restoring ecosystems,” he added.

Under the project, 15,000 beekeepers will be trained and the honey industry will be established producing abundant export quality honey. The aim is to create over 6,000 eco-tourism jobs for local communities and restore 55,000 acres of mangroves forest along with promoting a shift towards electric public transport in all major cities of Pakistan.

The pilot project for the Billion Tree Honey Project has already proven to be successful with beekeepers producing 40 per cent more honey and better marketing of the honey will now start.

Aside from expanding the mangrove area, an eco-tourism is hoped to kick off in Pakistan, involving local communities. Further, electric vehicles will be introduced at the hospitals and schools to reduce local emissions, being 60 per cent cheaper to operate.

Pakistan is today one of the few countries that are investing in natural capital and post-Covid initiatives, creating jobs and protecting nature.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 9:15am

Pakistan signs US led Global Methane Pledge at COP26
Pakistan German Climate and Energy Initiative signed with German bank KFW

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2327529/pakistan-signs-us-led-global-m...

GLASGOW:
United Nations Climate Change Summit also called the ‘Conference of the Parties’ or COP26 continued on its second day with speeches from various heads of state in the city of Glasgow in Scotland.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was due to attend the 2-day World Leaders Summit, backed out at the last minute due to 'domestic issues' according to the Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam who is now heading the ten person strong Pakistani delegation to the COP.

He is being accompanied by the Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul. Both have been meeting delegations from other countries in bilateral meetings and attending side events since the Summit formally opened on Monday. In Glasgow, countries are under pressure to cuts their emission further beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid dangerous warming and to finally operationalize the Paris Agreement.

The global methane pledge was formally launched at COP26 yesterday. Malik Aslam met US President Joe Biden when Pakistan officially joined more than 80 nations who signed up for the US led global methane pledge agreeing to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade in an effort to tackle climate change.

Cutting methane, a potent but relatively short lived gas which comes from sources like fuel extraction and livestock farming, is seen as an effective short term contribution to climate action. “President Biden thanked PM Imran Khan for committing to the pledge,” said Aslam.

Pakistan, as one of the world's top 30 methane emitters, has now committed to tackling methane from livestock and flare gas capture. President Biden thanked all those who have signed the 'game changing commitment' and said at the ceremony that this would not only help climate change but also improve health, cut crop losses and reduce pollution. Methane is said to contribute 80 times more to global warming than carbon dioxide.

Aslam also chaired two events at the Pakistan Pavilion including a briefing on the current government's flagship 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Program and a launch of the Pakistan German Climate and Energy Initiative signed with German bank KFW under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Partnership.

Pakistan recently updated its NDC document in the run up to COP26 in which it announced that it will shift to clean energy by converting 30% of its transportation to electric vehicles and that 60% of all energy produced in the country will be generated by renewable energy sources by 2030.

Germany has committed 60 million euros to Pakistan to be used for renewable energy and this initiative has added a 'green dimension' to the 70 year old partnership between the two countries. “This is a win for us and a win for the world,” said Aslam.

The German development bank KFW had earlier pledged funding to an independent 3 party assessment of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project which will be led by World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“It is very important to have 100% credibility and 100% transparency. The success of the project depends on this,” said Aslam at the launch of the initiative. The Pakistani pavilion is hosting a number of side events in the coming two weeks of the UN Climate Conference.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 9:29am

Pakistan Sets Out to Plant 10 Billion Trees to Counter Climate Change

https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-sets-out-to-plant-10-billion-tre...


Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. In order to defend against the destructive effects of a warming planet, the government plans to plant 10 billion trees by 2023. Shahzeb Jillani reports from District Mansehra in northern Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2021 at 9:50am

#Modi’s ambitious #climate pledge incompatible with #India’s starving population. Global Hunger Index 2021 ranked India at 101 out of 116 countries, behind Sudan and Mali. #Hunger in India is classified as "serious".#COP26 - Global Times. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1238059.shtml#.YYQOEluMQYM.t...

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprising and ambitious climate target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, announced at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, has attracted wide attention and sparked a heated discussion.

While some people believe the new target will mark a promising first step in setting India on a path to emissions reduction, which is commendable, others appear skeptical as to whether India can deliver on its promises.

Such a question is not without foundation. According to the recently released Global Hunger Index 2021, India was ranked 101 out of 116 countries and regions, behind such economies as Sudan and Mali, and was one among the nations in which hunger was classified as "serious." Although the Indian economy is estimated to be one of the fastest-growing in the world in 2022, many of its people still live in extreme poverty.

Even though some in the West expressed disappointment that India's climate target is 20 years behind that of most other countries, the willingness of India, with its large poor population, to make a step forward toward limiting global warming is still commendable.

However, it is an open question as to whether India's economy can support its ambitious emissions-reduction target. The 2015 Paris climate agreement's goal to limit global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels is supposed to address climate change and its negative impacts. Yet, if emissions-reduction efforts fail to consider improving livelihoods, domestic pressure of hunger will likely derail environmental protection efforts.

In the case of India, its credibility on delivering on its climate promise will largely depend on whether it is able to tackle poverty and hunger issues. The same is true for other developing countries.

When Western leaders tout their efforts toward limiting global warming by pressuring the developing world to sign up for bigger targets, they are, in effect, passing the buck of climate action. Developed countries have used fossil fuels for decades or longer to enjoy the benefits of high living standards, contributing to historic emissions much higher than developing countries that are reluctant to stop using their share of fossil fuels to give up the interests of their poor population.

When Western leaders talked a big game about their emissions-reduction targets and criticized those deemed as uncooperative at the COP26, no one mentioned how they would ensure the development of poverty-stricken countries. If the West does not have a clear and workable plan for poverty alleviation in developing countries, the entire climate targets would be flawed for disregarding the fact that developing countries may not have the basis to deliver on their promises.

For developing countries, the hope of accessing financial help from the West during the climate cooperation seems increasingly like a long shot, given the West's broken 2009 promise of offering $100 billion annually till 2020 to support the poor countries' climate transition.

Under these circumstances, if any one from the advanced economies still think that the developing world needs to commit more to the climate action, they should go to India to experience the real hunger before lecturing others.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2021 at 1:58pm

#India’s toxic air, not #carbon, is its most urgent problem. Dr. Kumar regularly sees children with blackened lungs. He says: “The urgent issue we need to face is not CO2..It is about our own health and the health of the next generation.” #COP26 #Modi https://www.economist.com/asia/2021/11/06/indias-toxic-air-is-its-m...

Addressing world leaders at the cop26 jamboree in Glasgow this week, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, listed five commitments to tackle climate change, including a promise to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070 and several shorter-term goals. Mr Modi also took the opportunity to point out that while poor countries bear a mere fraction of the blame for creating the world’s climate mess, some, such as India, have done better at keeping environmental commitments than many rich countries.

He is right. With 18% of the world’s people, India is reckoned to have caused just 3% of accumulated CO2 emissions. Yet even as Indian leaders repeatedly—and sometimes justifiably—take the moral high ground on climate change’s long-term challenges, their people continue to suffer and die from its immediate, home-grown causes.

Dr Arvind Kumar should know. When he started working as a chest surgeon in Delhi 30 years ago, nine-tenths of lung cancer patients were smokers and nearly all were men over 50. Now half of them do not smoke, 40% are women and their mean age is a decade younger. He regularly sees children with blackened lungs. “The urgent issue we need to face is not CO2,” says Dr Kumar. “It is about our own health and the health of the next generation.”

The trouble is not just in Delhi. In winter the Himalayas trap the combined exhaust of the 600m people who populate the sprawling Indo-Gangetic Plain. From diesel pumps for irrigation to cremation pyres and from coal-fired power plants to gas-guzzling suvs, the smoke combines in a toxic stew that can hang for weeks in the season’s typically windless conditions. Big provincial cities such as Lucknow and Patna are just as sooty as Delhi. So are many rural areas.

Across this whole region, reckon researchers from the University of Chicago in a recent study, air pollution is likely to reduce life expectancy by an average of more than nine years. Research published late last year in the Lancet, a medical journal, estimates that in 2019 alone some 1.67m Indians died from the effects of pollution, accounting for one in six of the country’s deaths. The authors put the cost to India of lost productivity at some $36.8bn, in addition to $11.9bn spent on treating illnesses caused by pollution, equal to a total of 1.8% of gdp. They emphasise that these are conservative estimates.


-----------------------

The weight of public opinion is one thing. The rustle of cash may prove more persuasive. Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest tycoons, both built colossal fortunes from hydrocarbons. Far nimbler than India’s government, they are pivoting to green energy. Mr Adani, king of Indian coal until last year, has gone on such a binge that his green-energy arm is now India’s biggest renewable-power supplier. International investors are getting into the act, too. So far in 2021 $9.67bn has been poured into Indian green bonds. That is nearly as much as in the previous five years combined

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2021 at 5:27pm

With Climate Pledges, Some Wall Street Titans Warn of Rising Prices
Leaders of some of the world’s biggest financial firms say that the rush to transition to clean energy could have unintended consequences for the global economy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/04/business/cop26-wall-street-pledg...

GLASGOW — Big business finally seems to be taking the climate crisis seriously. After years spent lurking on the sidelines, the chief executives of the world’s largest banks, companies and investment firms this week took a spot at the center of the debate at COP26.

Banks, asset managers and insurers in recent days pledged to use trillions of dollars to achieve net-zero emissions targets as pension funds and other big investors move to divest trillions more from the fossil fuel industry.

Yet some leaders of the world’s biggest financial firms — including some who were part of pledges made at the climate summit in Glasgow — are warning that the rush to rapidly transition away from a carbon-intensive energy system could unleash unintended consequences that would jeopardize the world’s economic recovery in the near term.

While some of their concerns are so far largely speculative, they suggest that less investment in fossil fuel production could send energy prices soaring, and that divestment could make it harder to monitor dirty energy production.


Speaking at a conference in Saudi Arabia last week, Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the private equity firm Blackstone, said the growing number of institutional investors pledging to divest their holdings from fossil fuel companies was making it harder for oil and gas producers to finance production.

“If you try and raise money to drill holes, it’s almost impossible to get that money,” Mr. Schwarzman said, adding that an energy shortage could lead to “real unrest” around the world. It is a sentiment that has been echoed by other executives in recent weeks, as U.S. oil prices hit $85 a barrel, a seven-year high.

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said in an interview that the world should be transitioning to a decarbonized economy “right now.” But he cautioned that while less money was being invested in fossil fuels, therefore tightening the supply, it was important for banks to keep funding conventional energy production.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 6, 2021 at 5:10pm

‘Pakistan doesn’t believe in net-zero’: An interview with Imran Khan’s top climate official
Malik Amin Aslam lays out the country’s climate action path.
Aron White

https://scroll.in/article/1009859/interview-pakistan-does-not-belie...

Q: Given the message it could send to the investment community, and the potential for raising investment for green growth, why has Pakistan decided not to declare a net-zero year for this Conference of the Parties?

A: In Pakistan, we do not believe in the net-zero concept at the moment. We believe in the concept of a decisive decade in the next 10 years. If the world does not change in the next 10 years, then we will be too late for any net zeros in 2050, 2060 or 2070. I believe that net zero if it translates into concrete action in the next decade is good, but most of these announcements are just announcements.

Pakistan has done something different, a very clear directional shift [is] happening in the next 10 years – going 60% zero-carbon [in energy production] by 2030, clean transport, going 30% electric by 2030 and trusting and investing in nature. We have the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, which is already ongoing, 15 new national parks being declared in the last year alone amd Recharge Pakistan, using floodwaters for restoring our wetlands and managing and adapting to climate change. We want to reinvigorate the momentum for these initiatives in the coming decade. The last decade has been a decade of disappointment on climate change, and the next decade has to be the decade of action. If that does not happen, net zero does not matter.

Q: Pakistan’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution is ambitious, with a total target of a 50% emissions reduction by 2030 (part of that being conditional on international financing), compared to projected emissions between 2015 and 2030. What time frame are you looking at to peak emissions?

A: We have done our arithmetic on the emissions and believe that with the sequestration projects that we are doing, Pakistan could well be on its way to levelling all its emissions. Our Nationally Determined Contribution shows that we have gone 9% below our business-as-usual trajectory in 2020, and we can go 50% below by 2030. It is a very clear directional target, but we have made it conditional on getting $100 billion of finance which can allow us to make a clean and just energy transition.

We are not talking about climate change in a silo, we are shifting the direction of our mainstream development towards being climate friendly. That is what really needs to happen all across the world. Pakistan is still responsible for less than 1% of global emissions – even if we closed down everything in Pakistan, it would not matter for the world. What does matter is that a country like Pakistan is paving the way towards climate-friendly development, based on nature and based on clean energy.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 6, 2021 at 5:16pm

‘Pakistan doesn’t believe in net-zero’: An interview with Imran Khan’s top climate official
Malik Amin Aslam lays out the country’s climate action path.
Aron White

https://scroll.in/article/1009859/interview-pakistan-does-not-belie...

Q: A note in the updated Nationally Determined Contribution suggests Pakistan will still increase the role of domestic coal in the energy mix to 15% by 2030. What is the plan in terms of phasing out local coal?

A: The local coal aspect is still there, but we have committed to no new imported coal projects. We have followed this up with clear action by shelving two projects of 2,400 megawatts, which were already signed off. We have shifted to 3,700 megawatts of hydropower. On local coal, we are looking for coal gasification and coal liquefaction technologies that are much less polluting and more efficient, but this requires access to the best available technology and climate finance.

We have noted that coal gasification can be more polluting than traditional coal.
We are looking for the best available technology which would be less polluting. We have worked on some options which have been used in South Africa, but we are still searching for the best available technology. That is what these forums should be able to provide.

Many of the actions outlined in the Nationally Determined Contribution are long-term projects, such as the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme. For that mitigation impact to be delivered, it depends on political continuity. As we have seen from the US example, a change of administration can have immense impacts on climate pledges. What happens to Pakistan’s commitments if there is a change of government?
We are trying to link up our financing streams with clear performance indicators on nature. We have floated our first green bond which is $500 million for renewable energy.

We have done the national capital evaluation for our blue bonds, with mangroves, and we are also looking at nature performance bonds that link up debt relaxation or reduction with nature performance. If that happens, no matter who comes into power, those agreements will be locked in with nature performance and climate action. I think that’s the solution to this problem of keeping on track.

How are you measuring the current and future carbon sequestration impact of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme?

If we can do the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme by 2040 and keep them [the trees] standing, we would be sequestering the same amount of carbon as we are emitting today, about 500 million tonnes. That is based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimations which have been done by the Climate Change Impact Strategy Centre, and a study that we have sent in to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We have already [reached] 1.5 billion [trees]. We hope to reach 3.2 billion by 2023, and then in the next five years, by 2028, we want to reach 10 billion trees.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 9, 2021 at 1:46pm

Can #Glasgow Deliver on a Global #Climate? #Pakistan SAPM Amin Aslam scoffed at distant net zero goals announced, including #India’s: “With an average age of 60, I don’t think anyone in the negotiating room would live to experience that net zero in 2070”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/08/climate/glasgow-climate-summit.html


Negotiators from about 200 countries are entering Week 2 of climate talks trying to resolve big issues around money, transparency and timelines.


The international climate summit here has been billed by its chief organizer as the “last, best hope” to save the planet. But as the United Nations conference enters its second week and negotiators from 197 countries knuckle down to finalize a new agreement to tackle global warming, attendees were sharply divided over how much progress is being made.

There’s the optimistic view: Heads of state and titans of industry showed up in force last week with splashy new climate promises, a sign that momentum was building in the right direction.

“I believe what is happening here is far from business as usual,” said John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change, who has been attending U.N. climate summits since 1992. “I have never counted as many initiatives and as much real money — real money — being put on the table.”

For example, 105 countries agreed to cut emissions of methane, a potent planet-warming gas, by 30 percent this decade. Another 130 countries vowed to halt deforestation by 2030 and commit billions of dollars toward the effort. India for the first time joined the growing chorus of nations pledging to reach “net zero” emissions, setting a 2070 deadline to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.


Then there’s the pessimistic view: All these gauzy promises mean little without concrete plans to follow through. And that’s still lacking. Or, as the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg put it, the conference has mostly consisted of “blah, blah, blah.”

Climate Fwd There’s an ongoing crisis — and tons of news. Our newsletter keeps you up to date. Get it sent to your inbox.
Malik Amin Aslam, an adviser to the prime minister of Pakistan, scoffed at some of the distant net zero goals being announced, including India’s: “With an average age of 60, I don’t think anyone in the negotiating room would live to experience that net zero in 2070,” he said.

On Monday, former President Barack Obama arrived at the summit to rally leaders. “Yes, the process will be messy,” he said. “I guarantee you every victory will be incomplete. Sometimes, we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises. But at least they advance the ball down the field. If we work hard enough, for long enough, those partial victories add up.”

Critics noted that some of last week’s announcements turned out to be full of caveats. After signing the forest pledge, officials in Indonesia, home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, clarified that ending deforestation in their country by 2030 at the expense of economic development was “obviously inappropriate and unfair.” Another vow by more than 40 countries to phase out coal power featured vague timelines and left out major coal users like China, India and the United States.

“The actual negotiations here are in danger of being drowned out by a blitz of news releases that get great headlines, but are often less than meets the eye,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a research institute based in Kenya. “There’s a lot of good talk and less real action.”

Mr. Adow said the summit should be judged on whether all 197 parties can craft a detailed, formal agreement that holds governments accountable for the promises they make. That would mean reaching consensus on wonky but crucial questions like how often nations should strengthen their near-term plans to cut emissions, the amount and type of financial aid that rich countries should give poorer ones to cope with the mounting dangers of climate change, and how to regulate the booming global market in carbon offsets.

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