Will COP26 Fulfill the Paris Agreement?

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The COP26, a two-week major global climate summit this coming November in Glasgow, will not fulfil the Paris Agreement, The Guardian reports.

Hosted by the United Kingdom and attended by 30,000 participants, the COP26 will disappoint campaigners, and some countries as hoped-for outcomes will fall short. Emission pledges from all major economies through their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), collectively, will not be enough to cut emissions in half needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

However, the United Nations, UK, and the US remain optimistic that the 1.5°C limit is still achievable through the “Glasgow pact.” The pact will allow countries to update their emissions pledges within the next few years to keep warming within 1.5°C.

According to a senior UN official, “We are not going to get to a 45% reduction, but there must be some level of contributions on the table to show the downward trend of emissions.”

Lord Nicholas Stern, the climate economist, says that falling short of emissions plans does not mean failure. Instead, we should hope for good progress in closing that gap between now and 2021.

The article notes that while the UK, the US, and the EU have submitted their NDCs, China, the world’s biggest emitter has yet to submit an NDC. It has only indicated that its emissions will peak by 2030, which is not enough to limit warming to 1.5°C, experts say.

This year’s climate summit is more urgent thane ever as we have seen more extreme natural events happening worldwide: record-breaking heatwaves, flashfloods and inundations, and severe forest fires.  To make COP26 a decisive moment for our planet to limit warming to 1.5C, the Environmental Defense Fund suggests these four things need to happen between Climate Week and the two-week summit. Below is a summary:

  1. Countries must amp up their emissions reduction targets. Governments must do more to slash their emissions and come up with more ambitious NDCs. China should fulfill its promise to stop investing in coal-fired projects abroad.
  2. Wealthy nations must come to the table with strong commitments. Rich economies should meet their $100 billion-per-year climate-finance commitment to developing countries to help them cope and adapt to climate change.
  3. Businesses need to support strong climate policies. Businesses should lobby and advocate for more climate actions and policies like some US companies like GM, Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, who have pledged to net-zero emission targets. IKEA, Nestle, eBay, Ford, and others have supported policies to clean up transportation by driving investments in sustainable fuels, using innovations to slash emissions, and electrifying transportation and fleets.
  4. Countries must move quickly to slash methane pollution. The US and the European Union announced a Global Methane Pledge to invigorate international support to cut methane emissions. In October, the US also proposed strong Environmental Protection Agency methane standards that will limit oil and gas production pollution.

Climate change is now amongst us, and it is time for countries to take bold steps, using the most robust methods and the fastest actions to tackle climate change.

Source Citation:

Cop26 climate talks will not fulfil aims of Paris agreement, key players warn. (2021 September 27). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/27/cop26-climate-talks-will-not-fulfil-aims-of-paris-agreement-key-players-warn

Krupp, F. (2021, September 29). 4 ways to make this year’s climate summit a turning point for our planet. EDF. Retrieved from https://www.edf.org/blog/2021/09/29/4-ways-make-years-climate-summit-turning-point-our-planet

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