Summary of the COP26 Climate Pact
After two weeks of negotiations at COP26, countries finally agreed on a climate deal last Saturday now known as the Glasgow Climate Pact. Despite several climate announcements made throughout the conference, global warming is still expected to reach 2.4 °C by the end of the century – far above the 1.5 °C scientists have agreed we should aim for. The pact aims to address this gap by asking countries to resubmit their NDCs before next year’s COP with more ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 2030.
Although the pact emphasises the need for increased financial support from developed to developing countries (beyond the current $100bn target), most developing countries argue that the promises are insufficient to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change – the impacts of which have already been destructive for many of them. Therefore, discussions around climate finance, adaptation, and loss and damage continue to be critical points of dispute.
Another key point of criticism is the watering down of language around ending the use of coal. Throughout the negotiations, it was first changed from “the phase-out of coal” to “the phase-out of unabated coal”, and then to the “phasedown” instead, following a last-minute intervention led by India and China. Nevertheless, this represents a landmark moment as it is the first time reducing fossil fuels is even mentioned in a COP agreement.
Although this agreement is not legally binding, it is still expected to shape global climate action over the next decades. The next year will be crucial in determining whether this agreement can be expected to deliver on the promise of the conference to keep 1.5 °C within reach.
King’s & COP26
King’s has shared expertise as a part of COP26 in several ways. At the climate summit itself, experts on climate change, wildfires, adaptation and climate law participated in a range of events. You can read more about it here.
Besides, researchers and students from the School of Global Affairs also shared their research-led thoughts on climate change and adaptation through several COP26 thought pieces. They looked at climate resilience, finance and indigenous knowledge to form a global perspective for this global challenge. You can read these here.
King’s is also committed to taking action to address our own impacts on the climate, which you can read more about here. If you want to get involved in climate action at the university, check out the King’s Climate Action Network.
- Read our blog post introducing COP26 and providing short summaries of progress that took place each day.
- Also have a look at King’s climate scientist Tamsin Edwards’ blog post evaluating the success of COP26.
- Listen to the King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast with a special episode on “What is COP26 and why does it matter?” with James Baggaley.
- While you are at it, also check out King’s COP26: we got this and WORLD: we got this podcasts with some episodes focused on climate.
- Read Chatham House’s analysis of the outcomes of COP26.
- Find out what your country has pledged at COP26.
How do you feel about the outcome of COP26? Do you see the deal as a success or failure? How important was this conference in the first place? What was happening outside of the official COP26 venues during this conference? We would love to hear your thoughts and share them with the larger King’s community.
If there is a different topic you are passionate about, you are also more than welcome to write about that.