Last Updated: NOVEMBER 16, 2021

Compromise Deal – Ahead of the conference, the United Nation’s climate change body released a report warning that the commitments made prior to COP26 would translate to a rise in the average temperature of up to 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • What did come out of it was the Glasgow Climate Pact – an agreement secured by nearly 200 countries to increase efforts to reduce emissions
  • Over 40 countries got behind quitting coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel contributing most to carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. However, the pledge was dampened by China, India, the US and Australia – some of the largest coal consumers in the world – refraining from signing onto the pact
  • More than 140 countries also promised to end and reverse deforestation, including the US, Russia, Brazil and China. The countries that signed onto the pact, the BBC reports, account for 90 per cent of the world’s forest cover

After two weeks of intense deliberation, the landmark COP26, the 26th iteration of the United Nations climate conference ended this weekend. The summit brought together representatives from almost 200 nations to fine-tune the 2015 Paris Agreement.

It began with heavy optimism on the heels of a number of bombastic statements and pledges from various countries reassuring future reductions in carbon emissions. However, by the summit’s close, that sentiment had transformed into unease with experts suggesting that, while the conference performed its function of acting as a global platform for countries to negotiate and arrive at a consensus, the nature of the goals and pledges outlined was suspect.

What did come out of it was the Glasgow Climate Pact – an agreement secured by nearly 200 countries to increase efforts to reduce emissions and one that called on wealthy countries to double their funding to poorer countries that have historically contributed the least to climate yet remain most vulnerable to the associated fallout. However, as noted by the New York Times, the accord failed to outline a clear pathway to limiting global warming to the 1.5 degrees Celsius (or even 2 degrees Celsius) threshold.

Ahead of the conference, the United Nation’s climate change body released a report warning that the commitments made prior to COP26 would translate to a rise in the average temperature of up to 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The pledges surrounding net-zero commitments and deforestation made at COP26 will, in theory, drive that figure down but experts remain unconvinced as to what extent they will, ultimately, materialise, particularly since the agreement includes no enforcement mechanism.

Nevertheless, there were some promising outcomes from the summit. Over 40 countries got behind quitting coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel contributing most to carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. However, the pledge was dampened by China, India, the US and Australia – some of the largest coal consumers in the world – refraining from signing onto the pact.

More than 140 countries also promised to end and reverse deforestation, including the US, Russia, Brazil and China. The countries that signed onto the pact, the BBC reports, account for 90 per cent of the world’s forest cover.

Curbing methane emissions was also seen as a low-hanging fruit ahead of COP26 and over 100 countries backed the Global Methane Pledge – an initiative to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 (compared to 2020 levels). The countries that signed onto the pledge are, reportedly, responsible for almost half of all global methane emissions. However, Russia, India and China – three of the key emitters – opted against making the commitment.

Additionally, the summit also yielded an unlikely agreement between China and the US – two of the world’s largest polluters – to collaborate in reducing emissions in the coming decades. Although details of the agreement are scant, experts hailed it as promising given the ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The last week of the conference was characterised by a heated debate over climate financing. Although the final draft of the Glasgow Climate Pact acknowledged that the current proposals and pledges were deeply inadequate, it failed to arrive at material targets. The issue of loss and damage – that would see richer countries that have contributed disproportionately to the climate crisis to fuel their economic growth compensate lower-income, vulnerable nations – also did not find mention in the document.

A commitment made in 2009 to make $100 billion in climate-related financing available was also found to have not been met, with some experts pointing out that it may only be achieved by 2023. In view of this, several vulnerable countries called for climate financing targets to be doubled, with India calling for this to be raised to $1 trillion by 2030.

There are arguments to be made over whether meetings like COP26 are, indeed, the best venues to spotlight climate issues and negotiate pledges and measures but, the reality is that they do represent the few occasions where international discourse around the climate crisis can find grounding.

An important agreement struck at the latest summit, it bears mentioning, will see countries’ urged to take stock of and revise their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at the next conference scheduled to take place in Egypt in 2022. As such, while climate activists have denigrated the outcome of the recent summit, COP26 did represent a step in the right direction.

Source Link: https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/article/cop26-concludes-with-compromise-deal-what-the-landmark-climate-summit-achieved-and-what-it-didnt/832388