COP26 concludes with Glasgow Climate Pact

The COP26 UN Climate Summit concluded on Saturday with nearly 200 countries agreeing the Glasgow Climate Pact, following two weeks of negotiations.

Participating 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, followed by a further summit in 2023.

The Paris Rulebook (the guidelines for how the Paris Agreement is delivered) was also completed at the weekend, after no fewer than six years of discussion. The UN says this will allow for the full delivery of the landmark accord, after agreement on a transparency process which will hold countries to account as they deliver on their targets. This includes Article 6, which establishes a framework for countries to exchange carbon credits through the UNFCCC.

During the negotiations, agreement was reached on phasing down fossil fuels, after a late intervention from China and India led to the watering down of coal commitments.

The transition to zero emissions vehicles also gathered pace, with some of the largest car manufacturers pledging to make all new car sales zero emission by 2040 and by 2035 in leading markets; and countries and cities agreeting to petrol and diesel car phaseout dates.

Meanwhile, commitments were made to protect natural habitats, with 90% of the world’s forests covered by a pledge from 130 countries to end deforestation by 2030.

COP26 president Alok Sharma said: “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.

“From here, we must now move forward together and deliver on the expectations set out in the Glasgow Climate Pact, and close the vast gap which remains. Because as Prime Minister Mia Mottley told us at the start of this conference, for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence’.

“It is up to all of us to sustain our lodestar of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach and to continue our efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation. After the collective dedication which has delivered the Glasgow Climate Pact, our work here cannot be wasted.”

Independent analysis conducted by The Climate Action Tracker shows that with the full implementation of the fresh collective commitments could hold temperature rise to 1.8C.

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