bneGREEN: COP26 still far from comprehensive agreement

bneGREEN: COP26 still far from comprehensive agreement
Global temperature increase projections
By Richard Lockhart in Edinburgh November 10, 2021

The first week of COP26 was dominated by grand statements by governments, and a number of sector-specific targets covering methane, coal and deforestation.

However, to use the words of diplomacy, it was a multi-lateral world, with a number of agreements that some countries signed up to, but some did not.

The host country led this movement, announcing a host of agreements, initiatives, funding decisions and policies affecting this country and that.

However, China and Russia were noticeable by their low profile, supporting some issues but basically avoiding the main speakers’ podiums

The second week will be more technical, but in terms of the conference itself and the creation of a global climate change management system, it will be far more important.

Although coal, temperatures and emissions are key metrics, there will be greater attention focused on more malleable concepts such as adaptation, loss and damage and climate justice.

The conference as a distinct body of the UNFCCC has now drawn up a draft comprehensive agreement. This is ultimately the document on which the success or otherwise of the conference as a whole will rest.

At the end of the week, what is in the document will be judged on whether it can meet the 1.5-degree target by 2100.

Well publicised stepping stones such as net zero for individual countries, whether in 2050, 2060 and or 2070, are useful indicators of how different governments view their progress.

But the most urgent issue is setting and meeting 2030 targets. While governments have been willing to set out longest-term commitments dated 2050, 2060 or 2060, it will be more difficult, but more important, to meet 2030 benchmarks for ending coal and reducing emissions.

Climate Action Tracker this week warned that 2030 targets as they stand will create global warming of 2.4˚C by 2100, while current policy commitments put global warming at 2.7˚C.

There is still a 19-23bn tonne gap between 2030 emissions targets & 1.5˚C compatibility in 2030.

What is needed is for the announcements and positive rhetoric seen in the first week to translate into hard commitments that will slash emissions, keep 1.5 degrees alive and put in place a comprehensive package of funding.