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COP26 – What It Did And Didn’t Achieve

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Climate Change

Turns out, this year’s Climate Change conference was a bit unsettling despite being passionate about the issue. This raises a question: was it a success or just another promising agreement like the ones previously made? 

Well, experts believe that this one wasn’t much convincing in terms of the execution plans and the mutual will of the major stakeholders. Another reason for slow progress towards achieving the goals is the rivalry between two of the most powerful nations: China and the US.

Also known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, the summit started from October 31 to November 12, 2021, jointly hosted by the UK and Italy. COP26 is the international summit on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Keeping the 2015 pact of the Paris Climate Change conference alive regarding limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above preindustrial levels, the COP26 was meant to further emphasize the need of the hour. However, whether it was a success or not is something that needs to be analyzed critically. Let’s see what the COP26 had to offer to the world:

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Mutual agreements

  • The US and China, despite their recent rifts in the diplomatic relations, have mutually agreed on working together to curb carbon emissions on higher levels. 
  • More than a hundred countries agreed to cut down their methane emissions to 30 percent as this gas is responsible for increasing the heat eighty times more than the carbon traces do.
  • South Africa will receive $8.5 billion over the next 3-5 years to phase-out coal through partnerships with the UK, US, and EU.
  • Forty-five governments pledged $4 billion in public spending for preserving nature and making agriculture more sustainable.
  • Countries with large areas of forests have agreed to curb and reverse deforestation by 90 percent by 2030.
  • More than 450 financial institutions have been taken on board to access the $130 trillion assets reserved for the goal of achieving net-zero by 2030. 

Key takeaways

COP26’s key takeaways were:

  • The countries agreed on the “phasing-down of the unabated coal power” which is the major source of global warming.
  • The participants created new rules for trading of carbon credits across the board.
  • A yearly summarizing report for the countries to remember and reiterate the goals.
  • Return in 2022 by the nations with achievements and new goals.
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Successful aspects 

Some of the successful aspects of the summit can be deduced as:

  • A mutual agreement signed by the 124 countries to end deforestation by 2030.
  • Urging countries to “fully deliver” and provide $1 billion per year to the developing countries to cope with the climate emergencies.
  • Convincing the US and China to sign a mutual agreement to cooperate in tackling climate change.

Failures

Some of the things that the summit failed to agree on or decide with clarity are:

  • The countries failed to manage and coincide on climate finance. According to the UN Climate Program, the developing countries need the amount of $70 billion to cope up with the demands and challenges of climate emergencies. The poorer nations’ calls for financial help from the developed countries have also been overlooked for a long time.
  • The funding challenge has not been taken care of despite the creation of the Adaptation Fund. The funding levels have remained too low to be considered effective enough to create a remarkable difference.
  • India’s intervention in the final wording of the summary was also seen as an act of biased and reluctance towards achieving the agreed goals. The original words “phase-out” were replaced with “phase-down” coal power by 2030. This change of language has created doubts and controversy regarding the willingness of the country to reduce its carbon traces.

Climate change is a global issue that has posed a survival threat to the entire life on earth. With the efforts of all the nations, this issue can be tackled to a large extent. However, the countries need to put aside all other differences and animosities of all kinds and keep the climate agenda as their top priority if they want to achieve this goal.

We all are responsible for saving our only home.

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