COP26: Final-day consensus on Glasgow Climate Pact
After two weeks of talk, 200 countries agree on accelerating the climate action walk
15 Nov 2021 | The Asset
Alok Sharma, COP26 president
Alok Sharma, COP26 president

After two weeks of intense talks, which ended on Saturday, nearly 200 countries on the final day of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow have agreed to the Glasgow Climate Pact, which aims to keep alive the goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, and to finalize the outstanding elements of the Paris agreement.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, combined with increased ambition and action from countries, means that the 1.5 degree Celsius target remains in sight, but it will only be delivered with concerted and immediate global efforts.

The pact will speed up the pace of climate action as all countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their current emissions targets to 2030, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, in 2022. This will be combined with a yearly political roundtable to consider a global progress report and a leaders’ summit in 2023.

The Paris rulebook, the guidelines for how the Paris agreement is delivered, was also completed on the conference’s final day after six years of discussions. This will allow for the full delivery of the landmark accord, after agreement on a transparency process that will hold countries to account as they deliver on their targets. The rulebook’s Article Six establishes a robust framework for countries to exchange carbon credits through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

And for the first time, heeding calls from civil society and countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, COP26 earlier agreed on action to phase down fossil fuels.

Other conference decisions also went further than ever before in recognizing and addressing loss and damage from the existing impacts of climate change. There were also commitments to significantly increase financial support through the Adaptation Fund as developed countries were urged to double their support to developing countries by 2025.

The final COP26 text follows two years of intense diplomacy and campaigning undertaken to raise ambition and secure action from almost 200 countries.

Work focused on driving short-term reduction of emissions to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degree Celcius, mobilizing both public and private finance, and supporting communities to adapt to climate impacts.

Nearly two years ago, only 30% of the world was covered by net-zero targets. This figure is now at around 90%. Over the same period:
  • 154 parties have submitted new national targets, representing 80% of global emissions.
  • There has been a huge shift in the attitude of countries towards coal, with many more countries committing to phase out unabated coal power and ending international coal financing.
  • There has been increased commitments to protecting precious natural habitats, with 90% of the world’s forests covered by a pledge from 130 countries to end deforestation by 2030.
  • The transition to zero emissions vehicles has gathered pace, with some of the largest car manufacturers working together to make all new car sales zero emission by 2040 and by 2035 in leading markets. Countries and cities are following suit with ambitious petrol and diesel car phase-out dates.

“We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive,” says Alok Sharma, COP26 president. “But, its pulse is weak, and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.”

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