COP26: More than expected, less than hoped.

The gavel has come down at COP26, officially ending this year’s UN Conference on Climate Change. The 1.5 C goal stays alive, and the new Glasgow Agreement recognises the need for deep emissions cuts in this decade. But the new climate pact is a long way from the urgent action we need now.

We came to COP26 calling on governments to: 

COP26 was a big one, and from the start, Glasgow was meant to deliver on firmly closing the gap to 1.5C. However, that didn’t happen, a clear betrayal of the millions of people already suffering from the climate crisis.

Climate vulnerable countries are suffering real loss and damage from the climate crisis today but what was promised in the final discussion text is nothing close to what’s needed on the ground. Much more ambition is still needed as well as transparency about the nature of different countries’ current commitments. 

The compromise in the Glasgow Climate Pact on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies is weak but it is the first time a call for coal reduction appears on a COP final text. The call for emissions reductions of 45% by the end of this decade is still in line with what we need to do to stay under 1.5C and keeps the science in this deal. But countries need to specify how much and by when they will cut emissions. And a focus on a just transition will be essential. Nevertheless, the signal that the era of coal is ending has been sent. 

Our climate is now breaking down around us, you see it every day in wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, and melting ice. There is no time to lose and it’s in the interests of all countries, including those who still burn coal, to transition to clean renewable energy, and richer countries need to do more to support that shift. Our future depends on it.

COP27 will reconvene next year in Egypt where climate justice activists will intensify raising awareness about the severe climate impacts facing the continent and securing more support for adaptation and loss and damage. In the meantime, we must continue to mobilise and urgently create irrepressible pressure that finally ends the era of all fossil fuels.