Published on: November 15, 2021
COP 26 – SUCCESS & FAILURE
WHAT WAS ACHIEVED
- Has emphasised that stronger action in the current decade was most critical to achieving the 1.5-degree target.
- Accordingly, it has:
- Asked countries to strengthen their 2030 climate action plans, or NDCs (nationally-determined contributions), by next year
- Established a work programme to urgently scale-up mitigation ambition and implementation
- Decided to convene an annual meeting of ministers to raise ambition of 2030 climate actions
- Called for an annual synthesis report on what countries were doing
- Requested the UN Secretary General to convene a meeting of world leaders in 2023 to scale-up ambition of climate action
- Asked countries to make efforts to reduce usage of coal as a source of fuel, and abolish “inefficient” subsidies on fossil fuels
- Has called for a phase-down of coal, and phase-out of fossil fuels(Has been explicitly mentioned in any COP decision)
Glasgow Climate Pact has:
- Asked the developed countries to at least double the money being provided for adaptation by 2025 from the 2019 levels. In 2019, about $15 billion was made available for adaptation that was less than 20 per cent of the total climate finance flows.
- Developing countries have been demanding that at least half of all climate finance should be directed towards adaptation efforts.
- Created a two-year work programme to define a global goal on adaptation. The Paris Agreement has a global goal on mitigation — reduce greenhouse gas emissions deep enough to keep the temperature rise within 2 degree Celsius of pre-industrial times.
- Developed countries are under an obligation, due to their historical responsibility in emitting greenhouse gases, to provide finance and technology to the developing nations to help them deal with climate change.
- In 2009, developed countries had promised to mobilise at least $100 billion every year from 2020. This promise was reaffirmed during the Paris Agreement, which also asked the developed countries to scale up this amount from 2025.
- The 2020 deadline has long passed but the $100 billion promise has not been fulfilled.
- The developed nations have now said that they will arrange this amount by 2023.
- A lot of substantial action in Glasgow happened in parallel processes that were not a part of the official COP discussions.
- These do not form part of the final agreed outcome, but Glasgow can certainly claim credit for facilitating these actions.
- India announced a Panchamitra (a mixture of five elements) of climate actions. It raised the targets for two of its existing climate targets, announced two new ones, and also promised to turn net-zero by the year 2070. India’s new commitments created the maximum buzz on the first two days of the Glasgow meeting.
- Several other countries also announced enhanced climate actions. Brazil, for example, said it would advance its net-zero target year from 2060 to 2050. China promised to come out with a detailed roadmap for its commitment to let emissions peak in 2030, and also for its 2060 net-zero target. Israel announced a net zero target for 2050.
- Over 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 per cent from present levels by 2030. Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential nearly 80 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time period. This pledge, if achieved, is estimated to avoid about 0.2 degree Celsius temperature rise by the middle of the century. The methane pledge is being seen as one of the biggest successes at COP26.
- Another set of over 100 countries promised to arrest and reverse deforestation by 2030.
- Over 30 countries signed on to a declaration promising to work towards a transition to 100 per cent zero-emission cars by the year 2040, at least in the leading car markets of the world.
- Carbon markets
- Facilitate the trading of emission reductions.
- Allows countries, or industries, to earn carbon credits for the emission reductions they make in excess of their targets
- Can be traded to the highest bidder in exchange of money.
- Considered a very important and effective instrument to reduce overall emissions.
- Existed under Kyoto Protocol but is no longer there because the Protocol itself expired last year
- New market under Paris Agreement is yet to become functional. Developing countries like India, China or Brazil have large amounts of carbon credits left over because of the lack of demand as many countries abandoned their emission reduction targets.
- A deadlock over this had been holding up the finalisation of the rules and procedures of the Paris Agreement
- The Glasgow Pact has offered some reprieve to the developing nations. It has allowed these carbon credits to be used in meeting countries’ first NDC targets. These cannot be used for meeting targets in subsequent NDCs.
- The resolution of the deadlock over carbon markets represents one of the major successes of COP26.
WHAT IT DID NOT ACHIEVE
The Glasgow pact has:
- Expressed “deep regrets” over the failure of the developed countries to deliver on their $100 billion promise. It has asked them to arrange this money urgently and in every year till 2025
- Initiated discussions on setting the new target for climate finance, beyond $100 billion for the post-2025 period
- Asked the developed countries to provide transparent information about the money they plan to provide
Loss and Damage:
- Worst affected are the poor and small countries, and the island states
- No institutional mechanism to compensate these nations for the losses, or provide them help in the form of relief and rehabilitation
- Introduced eight years ago in Warsaw, the provision hasn’t received much attention at the COPs, mainly because it was seen as an effort requiring huge sums of money. However, the affected countries have been demanding some meaningful action on this front.
- Final agreement, which has acknowledged the problem and dealt with the subject at substantial length, has only established a “dialogue” to discuss arrangements for funding of such activities