In Glasgow, many countries – especially small emitters – stepped-up, significantly raising their climate ambition while committing to bold, wide-ranging climate action. However, the picture coming out of COP26 is an imperfect one, as the world is still far short of where it needs to be to stem the impacts of climate change.
The Glasgow Climate Pact reflects important steps that the world could not afford to avoid. One significant achievement is that the Paris Agreement Rulebook -- the long-negotiated operational guidelines of the agreement -- was adopted in Glasgow. There was progress on adaptation finance, the global goal on adaptation, gender, and the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Platform. However, the agreement fell short on bold and necessary actions, such as calling for an end to fossil fuels and putting a price on carbon.
The Paris Agreement has proven to be the right vehicle for us to catch-up to where the science tells us we need to be. In the lead up to Glasgow, three-quarters of nations submitted their revised national climate strategies as agreed under the Paris Agreement. But these pledges – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – require significant support to turn them into reality.
Developing countries, many of which are already feeling the full force of climate change, need reassurance that their ambition will be met with the financial and technical support that is required -- including ensuring the $100 billion commitment is a floor and not a ceiling. Finance is also critical to build confidence and trust amongst different parties in this collective endeavour.
Support for adaptation to the impacts of climate change; and for loss and damage is key. Crucially, it must meet the increasing demands of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
As ever, the entire United Nations (UN) family will be on hand to support countries and communities to do this. That includes the support provided by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Climate Promise, now supporting 120 countries – the world’s largest offer of its kind. The organization’s support for energy, gender, adaptation, forests, amongst other areas, provides support for countries how and when they need it.
The road to COP27 begins now and it is vital that we accelerate the momentum provided by COP26. With 1.5 degrees remaining barely within reach, COP26 must be a springboard for further commitments from countries in the immediate future. After Glasgow, no longer can anyone be under any illusion. Hope remains yet our window to protect people and planet is closing by the day.
A Guest Editorial