Adieu To COP26
After a couple of weeks of negotiations, the annual climate meeting in Glasgow came to an end as a mixed bag of modest achievements and disappointed expectations. The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) have reached a deal on further steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a tacit consensus on a target of keeping global temperature rise down to 1.5 degrees Celsius with the Paris agreement target of 2 degrees Celsius.
The sessions delivered to international agreements the Kyoto Protocol (1997) that expired last year, and the Paris Agreement (2015), which now forms the architecture for actions to tackle climate change. The pact is the first clear recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels, though the focus was on giving up the coal-based power altogether on climate finance, the agreed text commits developed countries to double the collector share of adaptations finance within the $100 billion annual target for 2021-2025, and to reach $100 billion goal as soon as possible. Parties also commit to a process to agree on long-term climate finance beyond 2025. Two important plurilateral outcomes could potentially develop into more substantial measures. The most important is to cut Methane emissions by 30% by 2030 and the second is to reverse deforestation by 2030. COP26 stretched extra time because the phrase "phasing out" is replaced by "phasing down". The net zero target by countries was the most significant achievement of the Glasgow Summit.
There is more ambition in the intent to tackle climate change but little to show in terms of concrete action. Many observers called on countries to step up their efforts in the next year. The Glasgow Summit leaves us with utmost hope. It is also a responsibility of our young generations to keep popping up their respective governments to tackle climate challenge. The next summit will be welcomed with more attempts to scale up its target achievable.