Halving emissions in the next decade is considered a key stepping stone on the path to net zero by 2050, which scientists say is the only way to achieve the Paris accord’s goal of capping global warming at 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

This year’s U.N. climate summit renews an urgent question to the international community: Can the world come together to confront the common enemy of global warming before it’s too late?

The talks that start Sunday in Scotland were always bound to be tense, but the coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis and the recent energy crunch have put even more pressure on the two-week meeting.

Here are five of the top issues that will need to be tackled in Glasgow, from the Associated Press:

  • The pledge by rich countries to mobilize $100 billion each year for poor nations to cope with climate change was likely missed in 2020. Estimates for 2019 show the funding was just shy of $80 billion.
  • Some unfinished business from the Paris climate summit in 2015 involves the rules for international carbon trading, which is seen as a key instrument to harness market forces in the fight against global warming.
  • Transparency is a key element of the talks, because the voluntary nature of the Paris accord means countries closely watch what how much progress others make before ratcheting up their targets another notch.
  • Methane, the main component in natural gas and a byproduct of some agriculture, has been somewhat overlooked in past negotiations.
  • A proposed pledge to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2010 levels is not so much a negotiating point as a goal established by the U.N. for the talks to be considered a success. So far, emissions are going up, not down.

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