COP26 – The Glasgow Climate Pact

COP26 – The Glasgow Climate Pact

Late by a day, the Glasgow Climate Pact was established on Saturday, the 13th of November.  The two weeks of negotiation have led to this, and many are questioning whether it is enough to even get below 2oC, let alone reach the ideal 1.5oC. 

The biggest inclusion in the pact was the mention of coal, as fossil fuels have never been mentioned in the final texts at a COP before, with the statement being made that coal power should be phased down.  Methane was also mentioned, with over 100 nations committing to reduce methane emissions by 30% before 2030.  The need for a transition to clean energy was also acknowledged. 

However, the original texts said that coal should be phased out, hostilities from China and India to this phrasing is what led to the change being made to phased down.  The use of “unabated” was also written into this change, allowing the use of coal with carbon capture technology.  The watering down of language here has been viewed by many as a disappointment.  The US and EU also removed mechanisms on damages and losses which have richer nations supporting developing ones. 

Nations have been told to think about, formulate and publish Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards the Paris Agreement by 2030, for COP27 next year.  Climate goals and other plans should align to 1.5oC, this point proving to be a requirement in the texts to some nations, whilst others opposed it.  The UN finally stated in the texts that they will, “take into account different national circumstances.”  It is also expected for nations to continue publishing updated NDCs throughout the years up to 2039, keeping goals aligned with the Paris Agreement and allowing scrutiny on behalf of the public should a nation be slow on climate action. 

Whilst developing nations were frustrated with the US and EU’s interventions towards their proposals, the Pact has shone a light on the failure to provide the agreed upon funding to these nations over the past years and has asked that developed countries double their climate financing for developing nations from 2019 levels by 2025.  The Pact also urges rich countries to deliver the promised $100 billion in full by 2025, requesting transparency and the reporting of how the mechanisms they use to finance the transition. 

Despite all the new targets, promises and agreements, the world still looks to be on course towards 2.4oC.  However, taking an optimistic perspective on this, it is proof that the Paris Agreement has taken effect as the world has moved down from heading towards the originally expected 4oC global warming.  Whilst more is needed, the NDCs requested should help future COPs align nations plans below 2oC and with many would calling COP26 a failure, some consider it a much-needed step in the right direction.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that, whilst not ideal, he still says the final Pact is “game-changing” whilst COP26 President Alok Sharma states that it should be considered “historic.”  




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