COP26 outcome

COP26 outcome

COP26 was the 26th conference held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC. More than 26 thousand delegates form 200 countries gathered in Glasgow to discuss the world climate crisis. What has been adopted? What are the declarations of COP 26? When will they turn into real actions?

According to the Paris agreement of 2015, the countries had been asked to implement actions aimed at limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees to prevent the climate catastrophe. Another goal is to limit the emissions to reach net zero commitments by 2050

COP 26 was to end on 12th November but the goals had not been reached by this date and the delegates continued the work over the weekend. Despite the extension of the conference, the opinions on the agreements reached at COP are very different. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.


Fossil fuels

The power sector accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, and coal is the single biggest contributor to human created climate change. Keeping 1.5C alive requires immediately stopping the building of new coal power plants, scaling up clean power and retiring existing coal fleets: in advanced economies by 2030 and globally by 2040.

65 countries have now committed to coal phase out, including more than 20 new commitments at COP26. 48 countries are members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), up from 33 countries when we took on the COP Presidency. All major coal financing countries have committed to end international coal finance by the end of 2021. Over $20 billion of new public and philanthropic finance has been committed to support developing countries to scale up clean power and make the transition away from coal.

Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said: “The coal and subsidies language now includes a reference to a just transition and that is very welcome. Fossil fuel interests should be put on notice, the deal on the table is weak but if they gut it they’ll have to answer to the young, to people on the frontline of climate impacts and ultimately to history.” However, not everyone appreciates the very fact of mentioning fossil fuels in the agreement, and sees its final form more as a negotiating failure and a gateway to carry out the transformation too slowly.

Countries agreed only to “phase down” and not “phase out” coal, due to a last-minute edit by China and India. Nonetheless, the agreement does demand the progressive elimination of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels. The milestone here is that this is the first time these measures have been included in a UN agreement affecting 196 countries.

New plans for reducing emissions

Despite the inclusion of a plea to harden plans to cut greenhouse effect emissions by the end of 2022, only a handful of world leaders showed themselves to be ready to put forward concrete actions. Although the Paris agreement established 2025 as the date by which more ambitious measures had to be presented, the planet now urgently needs to achieve carbon neutrality.

Transformation in the developing countries

More than 10 years ago, developed countries agreed to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries by 2020 to help them pass to low-carbon economies and adapt to the climate crisis. These promises have not been implemented and, in addition, developing countries claim that these are not sufficient resources. The 50-50 split between mitigation (measures to reduce emissions) and adaptation, which help to deal with the effects of climate change has also not been achieved. More resources were allocated to the reduction of emissions. The Glasgow Climate Pact provides a double amount of funds for adaptation until 2025 (from the 2019 level), and this is a noticeable improvement. However, the $ 100 billion target will probably be reached in 2023. The question is whether the developed countries are able to maintain this level of funding per year.


Lack of a responsibility funding to cover the costs of the effects of climate crisis

The developing countries and those particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis had really hoped that a special fund to cover the damages of climate crisis would be developed.  

The Glasgow Climate Pact failed to prioritize climate finance for developing countries to transition away from fossil fuels, adapt to worsening impacts, and cope with irreparable loss and damage from climate change. – said Rachel Cleetus, from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement adopted after 6 years of deliberations.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is so complicated that it could not be agreed during the last six years. It sets out a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development.

The resolution of Article 6 at COP 26 was critical. Six years on from its inception under the Paris Agreement, the rules for its implementation had still not been finalised. There had been a number of attempts over the years, but with many points still unresolved, it became important that negotiations in Glasgow were successful.

The pressure to finalise the negotiations as the COP drew to a close was apparent, with last minute compromises and concessions unlocking the deadlock and opening the way for success. This development is very much welcomed by the international community, with the UNFCCC (United Nations Climate Change) noting that agreement on Article 6 “will make the Paris Agreement fully operational” and “will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigations as well as adaptation”, which are two key pillars of collective climate change action.


Stop deforestation

Deforestation was to the fore in one of the major agreements coming out of Glasgow. Over 100 countries (in which 90% of the world’s forests are concentrated) have committed not only to stop deforestation, but to reverse it until 2030.

The countries that signed the agreement, including Canada, Brazil, Russia, China, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the US and the UK cover about 85% of the world's forests. The governments of the 28 countries have also pledged to remove deforestation from world trade in food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soybeans and cocoa. Additionally, more than 30 of the world's largest financial firms – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – have also promised to end investments in deforestation activities.

Shift to low-carbon agriculture  

Forty-five countries have committed to take urgent action for more sustainable agriculture. In addition to the methane commitments, the signatories committed to invest in green farming practices and nature conservation.

New era of transport

Under the agreement on accelerating the transition to 100% zero-emission cars, which is not legally binding, the coalition of countries, cities, car manufacturers and other organisations said they will work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission…globally by 2040 and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.

The signatories include the UK, Canada, Norway and Chile, along with Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. A further group of countries, including India and Kenya, have agreed to work intensely towards accelerated proliferation” of zero-emissions vehicles. 


500 thousand of marine reserve  

The 2021 Glasgow COP26 environmental conference delivered fantastic news for Galapagos conservationists. Not only will the Galapagos Marine Reserve increase significantly in size, it will also merge with other nearby reserves to create a new “mega” protected area. This is a huge win for the crown jewels of Ecuadorian tourism. The unique Galapagos landscapes and wildlife should now be protected for generations to come.

Despite these outcomes of COP 26, there is still a lot of work ahead of us…

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