COP 26 in Glasgow: A Make-or-Break Situation for Real Climate Actions of Countries

The recently held 26th conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow came to its conclusion. Some people who participated in this event believe that it was the last chance to make changes to reach the Paris Agreement [1]. While others have not had this idea. The Paris Agreement is considered as the rulebook from the majority of the parties which participated in COP26 [2,3].

The COP26 reached its final station with a bittersweet consensus which is called the Glasgow Climate Pack. Glasgow Climate Pack partly clarified the general and holistic goals that were laid down in the Paris rulebook. The word “partly” has deliberately been used because it was made crystal clear that fossil fuels including coal, oil, and gas have had an unprecedented role in the climate crisis [3,4]. This point was not made obvious in the Paris Agreement in 2015 and it can be thought of the sweet side of this agreement. While another point which was a matter of hot debates during this two-week event and became clear was changing and watering down the term of “phasing out the coal” to “phasing down the coal” during the coming decade by all countries [3,4]. That is an awfully unpleasant side of the event. In spite of these facts, there are several unclear points related to the Glasgow Climate Pack including

  • How much is the share of each year until 2030 for phasing down the coal?
  • What alternatives must be used for compensating the coal share?




The beginning and the ultimate goal of COP26 is very vivid. The conference began in 1994 and aims to achieve the net-zero emissions goals in the mid-century [4]. But what is not specified by all nations is how they want to reach these goals. In other words, the origin and the destination are identified but the well-worn paths that countries are now following up can not approach the carbon-neutral future by 2050. This claim can be seen and confirmed explicitly in the statements of  Mr. Guterres for the younger generation which was released at the close of the two-week meeting. “I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up” he said [4]. 

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It is worth mentioning that at the COP26 meeting, all parties called for proposals to come to COP27 next year in Egypt with an uploaded plan on how to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 [3,4]. Whilst many scientists and researchers believe that we need to take emergency actions because we are placed in a make-or-break situation [1]. Limiting the global warming rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is one of the main goals of the Paris agreement [5,6]. According to the Six Assessment Report which was recently released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities have caused around 1.1 °C of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region [7]. If all nations continue at their present paces they will surpass the 1.5°C threshold by 2040 and reach 2°C global warming by 2050 [5].

Consequently, if we fancy reaching the level in which the amount of GHG emissions should not be greater than the amount removed from the environment, it is crucial for governments, policymakers and individuals to take steps urgently towards greener and cleaner goals than before. In this regard, Greta Thunberg has recently said that “the people in power do not need conferences, treaties and agreements to start taking real climate actions. They can start today”.

Author: Hesam-Edin Hayati Soloot

References

[1] Forbes, “COP26: Why The UN Climate Conference Matters Like Never Before”, written by David Vetter.

[2] European Commission, “COP26: EU helps deliver outcome to keep the Paris Agreement targets alive”, was released on 13th of November.

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[3] CNN, “COP26 ended with the Glasgow Climate Pact. Here’s where it succeeded and failed”, written by Angela Dewan and Amy Cassidy.

[4] UN News, “COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief”, was released on 13th of November.

[5] CDP, “Commit to 2030 interim targets and long-term goals”.

[6] IPCC, Sixth Assessment Report.

[7] UN, “GLASGOW CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE – OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2021”.