Summarising COP26 with one question – What is next?
It is a few days since the final agreements were made for COP26 in Glasgow, and we have taken some time to digest the progress that has been made. Whilst the final agreement, the Glasgow Climate Pact, doesn’t reflect the urgency needed to deal with our climate crisis, there were positive notes along the way.
With this blogpost, we intend to give you an idea of the results of COP26 and how it affects the goals agreed at the previous COP25; before looking at what you can do to join the debate and improve your climate footprint. We know it seems overwhelming, but as seen at COP26, even small nations, communities and young people are pushing governments to act faster. This is important change can come from collaborative citizenship, rather than consumerism.
If we work together, we can make a difference!
What was agreed at COP26?
There are many opinions about the outcome of COP26. The final agreement is progressive as it asks countries to come back next year to a COP27 in Egypt with strengthened plans to tackle climate change. In significantly increase funds to help less developed countries adapt to the impacts of climate change from $100 billion a year to a trillion dollars a year from 2025.
And maybe most noteworthy is the naming of coal as a root cause of climate change; something which has never officially been recognised in political documents, despite the connection being known since the 19th century and scientists sounding the alarm since the 1980s. Though the language used to describe the connection in the final document was weakened from ‘phasing out’ to ‘phasing down’ coal, we must remember to celebrate that some progress has been made. As Greenpeace International’s Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan expresses, “it’s meek, it’s weak and the 1.5C goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending. And that matters”.
What is next will be to see how governments follow up on the agreements made at COP26. We look forward to seeing if any ambitious steps will be taken leading up to the next COP in Egypt.
The goal of 1.5C is only just alive?
You may remember from our last blogpost that every country agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees at the last COP25 in Paris. That is why it is so important to keep this ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C alive. The only problem? The outcomes from COP26 still leave us far from the 1.5C target.
The latest reports indicate that even with these new commitments from COP26, we can expect temperatures to increase by between 1.8C and 2.4C this century. Do you know what the most frightening part is? The world has already warmed by just over half that amount and we are beginning to see the massive impacts this has around the world today.
The latest science shows that we need to halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade alone if we wish to keep the hope of limiting global warming to 1.5C. Even COP26 President Alok Sharma and UN chief Antonio Guterres have expressed that nations need to be more ambitious to reach the 1.5C goal than they were in Glasgow, “it is time to go into emergency mode. The climate battle is the fight of our lives & that fight must be won”, Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter.
Though all our climate problems weren’t solved at COP26, we must stay engaged and we must stay hopeful! It is gatherings like these that bring together collaboration; and collaboration is needed to combat our climate crisis. With the attention that the media and the public gave these conferences, the world’s leaders will have to take a stand and get more active in their approach to tackle climate change.
We hope the leaders of the world will take this into account and come up with stronger next steps! In the meantime there are things we can do as citizens to prompt action and reduce our own climate impact.
What can I do to help the planet?
We all must consider the choices that we make to tackle the climate crisis. We have gathered some suggestions for steps that you can take to become more climate friendly.
- Sign petitions to put pressure on governments to tackle climate change – Google and you will find many to get you started.
- Switch energy providers to ones that use renewable and sustainable energy sources – there are more than five so there is plenty of competition to manage prices.
- Walk, bike, or take public transport rather than driving.
- Eat less meat and dairy products.
- Cut back on business travel (particularly flying) and instead use those virtual meetings that we all have gotten so used to.
- Try to minimise your waste by repairing and reusing, giving away unwanted items, and avoiding wasting food.
- Talk about the changes that you do for the climate. Because talking is a great way to spread ideas.
- Calculate your climate footprint and offset your carbon emission on apps such as WWF’s My Footprint and Klima.
And remember, if we work together, we can achieve great things #jointhemovement