COP26 Ends With Agreement But Falls Short on Climate Action

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Whilst the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 on Saturday firms up the global commitment to accelerate action on climate this decade, it left many wondering if this deal is enough to limit global warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels.

It is an important step but is not enough,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his wrap up message to the conference. “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe. It is time to go into emergency mode — or our chance of reaching net-zero will itself be zero.”

There is also fear, particularly from indigenous communities and civil society, that the agreement – which calls on 197 countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year at COP27 in Egypt – is too little and too late. As Ugandan climate activist, Vanessa Nakate told leaders, “We are drowning in promises. Only immediate and drastic action will pull us back from the abyss.”

Yet despite these concerns, some progress was undoubtedly made. A roadmap for updating Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) was produced – which the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) analysis shows fall short to meet the 1.5°C targets.

The word “coal” was used in a COP text for the first time, although there was disappointment that the phrase “phase out” was changed to “phase down,” but it did commit to the phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

Beyond the political negotiations, the conference also brought together about 50,000 online and in-person participants to share innovative ideas and solutions and build partnerships.

Source: UNEP