Conference of the Parties number 26 – Review
After a series of tense huddles and more than 24 hours into overtime, the gavel went down on a climate deal in Glasgow, UK at 7:41 pm on Saturday. World leaders adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, a package of decisions as the outcome of the Conference of the Parties number 26 (COP26). Before COP26, the planet was on course for a dangerous 2.7°C of global warming. Based on new announcements made during the Conference, Climate Action Tracker estimates the world is now on a path to between 1.8°C and 2.4°C of warming.
Parties have now agreed to revisit their commitments, as necessary, by the end of 2022 to put the world on track for 1.5°C of warming, maintaining the upper end of ambition under the Paris Agreement.
Probably one of the most significant events was the announcement by China and the US to strengthen their cooperation on climate action and accelerate emissions cuts this decade. The statement binds China to tackle damaging methane emissions and deforestation, while both countries have agreed to share technology and expertise on clean energy, decarbonisation and electrification.
Crucially, the statement notes both countries are committed to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees (stated by China as an “existential crisis”) and conceded there was a “gap” between current policies and meeting that core target.
Global Methane Pledge
Amongst the flurry of pledges, a very encouraging one was the Global Methane Pledge, signed by 100 countries committing to reduce global human-driven methane emissions by between 130 and 230 megatons per year by 2030. Australia did not sign up to this one.
In fact, the Methane Moment Booth that hosted details of the Global Methane Pledge was located just around the corner from Australia’s national pavilion which was embarrassingly filled with Santos sponsored exhibits such as the one shown below.
Fossil Fuel Connections are not limited to Australia
However, fossil fuel connections weren’t just hanging around the Australian pavilion. Global Witness assessed the participant list that the UN published at the start of this meeting. They found that 503 people with links to fossil fuel interests had been accredited for the climate summit.
This represents the largest single group of delegates, more than any single country (and doesn’t include the ones that wormed their way into national delegations). The second largest group was the official team from Brazil with 479 delegates.
We will keep you appraised of developments following COP26. It will be interesting to watch the progress on pledges to real action. The ultimate decider, however, may well be the finance industry which is getting more fickle about fossil fuel investment, including even China.