For almost three decades, world governments have met nearly every year to forge a global response to the climate emergency. On November 1st and 2nd, 120 world leaders gathered in Glasgow to kick start a decade of accelerated climate action.
The last major breakthrough was in 2015 in Paris when nearly every nation on Earth endorsed the Paris Agreement. How will #COP26 be remembered? Solarstone gathered the highlights and lowlights of COP26.
Here’s a summary of the good things
- Over 40 leaders joined the Breakthrough Agenda, a decade long plan to work together to create green jobs and growth globally, ensuring clean technologies and solutions are affordable and accessible for all – beginning with power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture.
- Over 140 countries covering more than 90% of the world’s forests committed to stop deforestation by 2030.
- The launch of the Global Methane Pledge saw over 100 countries committing collectively to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030.
- For the first time at a COP conference, there was an explicit plan to reduce use of coal and phase-out subsidies that artificially lower the price of coal, oil, or natural gas. Coal is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions, However, no firm dates have been set. Much more was expected, but it’s better than nothing.
- The world’s biggest CO2 emitters, the US and China, pledged to cooperate more over the next decade in areas including methane emissions and the switch to clean energy. A welcome surprise by the two giants.
- Small group of nations forge a path to ending oil and gas production within their borders. Denmark and Costa Rica-led alliance includes France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and New Zealand, among others. The world’s biggest oil producers have not yet signed up, though.
Here’s a summary of the not-so-good things
- Rich countries agreed in 2009 that poor countries would receive at least $100bn a year from 2020, from public and private sources, to help them cut emissions and cope with the impacts of the climate crisis. But by 2019, the latest year for which data is available, only $80bn flowed. The target will most likely not be met until 2023.
- Current pledges, if met, will only limit global warming to about 2.4 °C. Far from the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 °C.
- During the closing moments, India demanded that a particularly contentious clause be changed. Instead of a commitment toward phase-out of coal power and fossil-fuel subsidies, they requested a call to escalate a phase-down.
- Australia has won the “colossal fossil” award at COP26 for its appalling performance and at the climate talks and lack of climate policies. They even allowed fossil fuel company Santos to use Australia’s official pavilion in Glasgow to promote its business. C’mon. The US was second for a lot of hot air and blocking progress, and the UK was third for presiding over a disorganised COP26 summit.
Conclusion. Not stopping global warming. Better luck next year.