Pledges, progress and the outcome – here is how COP26 was concluded
LMB Staff
Written by
14/11/2021

Deliberations under the current session of the COP, CMP and CMA came to an end this Saturday in Glasgow, one day after their scheduled conclusion. The wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that constitute the outcome of COP26 is the fruit of intense negotiations over the past two weeks, strenuous formal and informal work […]

Deliberations under the current session of the COP, CMP and CMA came to an end this Saturday in Glasgow, one day after their scheduled conclusion.

The wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that constitute the outcome of COP26 is the fruit of intense negotiations over the past two weeks, strenuous formal and informal work over many months, and constant engagement both in-person and virtually for nearly two years. 

Where was progress made

Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries. The Santiago Network was further strengthened by elaborating its functions in support of countries to address and manage loss and damage. And the CMA approved the two registries for NDCs and Adaptation Communications, which serve as channels for information flowing towards the Global Stocktake that is to take place every five years starting in 2023.

On mitigation, the persistent gap in emissions has been clearly identified and Parties collectively agreed to work to reduce that gap and to ensure that the world continues to advance during the present decade, so that the rise in the average temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees. Parties are encouraged to strengthen their emissions reductions and to align their national climate action pledges with the Paris Agreement.

Image Courtesy: UNFCCC

An agreement was reached on the fundamental norms related to Article 6 on carbon markets, which will make the Paris Agreement fully operational. This will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigation as well as adaptation. And the negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework were also concluded, providing for agreed tables and formats to account and report for targets and emissions.

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

The Glasgow Climate Pact will speed up the pace of climate action. All countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their current emissions targets to 2030, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), 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 today after six years of discussions. 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 robust framework for countries to exchange carbon credits through the UNFCCC.

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

What was not delivered

Developing countries were expecting a clear plan for a loss and damage funding facility. This did not happen and focus will shift to Egypt next year to deliver this. African nations spend up to 10% of GDP a year on adaptation while impacts could deliver a 20% hit to GDP in poor nations by 2050 say Christian Aid.

“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. I reaffirm my conviction that we must end fossil fuels subsidies. Phase out coal. Put a price on carbon. Build resilience of vulnerable communities against the here and now impacts of climate change. And make good on the $100 billion climate finance commitment to support developing countries,” said Guterres.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said: “I thank the Presidency and all Ministers for their tireless efforts throughout the conference and I congratulate all Parties on finalizing the rulebook. This is an excellent achievement! It means that the Paris Agreement can now function fully for the benefit of all, now and in the future.” 

What lies ahead

Alok Sharma, UK President of COP26 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.”

COP26 has today concluded in Glasgow with nearly 200 countries agreeing the Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5˚C alive and finalise the outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement. 

Climate negotiators ended two weeks of intense talks on Saturday with consensus on urgently accelerating climate action.

When the UK took on the COP26 mantle, in partnership with Italy, 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. 

The UK Presidency has also been focused on driving action to deliver emissions reductions. We have seen a huge shift in coal, with many more countries committing to phase out unabated coal power and ending international coal financing.  

Alongside this, we have seen a marked commitment to protect precious natural habitats, with 90% of the world’s forests covered by a pledge from 130 countries to end deforestation by 2030. 

While on the world’s roads, the transition to zero emissions vehicles is gathering 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 phaseout dates.

Current policies would leave us on a path to a devastating temperature rise. But work done by independent experts Climate Action Tracker show that with the full implementation of the fresh collective commitments could hold temperature rise to 1.8 degree Celsius. 

“After six years of negotiations, the rules allowing countries to trade carbon credits with each other, known as Article 6.2, have been agreed with the exception of some operational elements. That means countries now have all the tools they need to ensure high-quality, consistent and transparent climate action through carbon markets. This level of certainty will drive new investments to scale the climate actions we desperately need across all sectors, including halting deforestation and promoting other natural climate solutions,” he added.

John Verdieck, Director of International Climate Policy, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) said “If Paris established the scaffolding, Glasgow has progressed the foundations: countries now have a clear mandate to work together to reduce and sequester emissions via carbon markets. Now the heavy lifting to produce meaningful emissions cuts must begin to keep global warming below +1.5 °C while also ensuring tangible co-benefits for nature and people.” 

As per a press release by UNFCCC, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to all delegates — and all those on the outside who have put pressure on this COP to deliver.

LMB Staff
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Let Me Breathe (LMB) is a platform that provides space to document and tell unbiased stories of living and surviving air pollution, climate change and highlights positive stories on sustainability– by simply using their 🤳🏾
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