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COP26 deal keeps alive 1.5C global warming target

16 November 2021, 16:24 CET
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COP26 deal keeps alive 1.5C global warming target

COP26 Glasgow - Image © European Union 2021

(GLASGOW) - The COP26 UN Climate Conference came to an end in Glasgoqw Saturday with a deal to keep alive Paris' 1.5°C target but without a comprehensive package to support climate vulnerable countries.

World leaders, negotiators, observers and activists reached the end of two weeks of intense negotiations with a consensus agreed by over 190 countries.

The EU and European countries say they helped secure some advancements on emissions reductions at COP26, which resulted in the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook and gave counbtries at least the chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said COP26 had made progress on three objectives the EU had set at the start of COP26: "First, to get commitments to cut emissions to keep within reach the global warming limit of 1.5 degrees. Second, to reach the target of 100 billion dollars per year of climate finance to developing and vulnerable countries. And third, to get agreement on the Paris rulebook. This gives us confidence that we can provide a safe and prosperous space for humanity on this planet."

Under the Paris Agreement, 195 countries set a target to keep average global temperature change below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C. Before COP26, the planet was on course for a dangerous 2.7°C of global warming. Based on new announcements made during the Conference, experts estimate that we are now on a path to between 1.8°C and 2.4°C of warming.

In the COP26 conclusions, parties agreed to revisit their commitments, as necessary, by the end of 2022 to put us on track for 1.5°C of warming, maintaining the upper end of ambition under the Paris Agreement.

In order to deliver on these promises, COP26 also agreed for the first time to accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and recognised the need for support towards a just transition.

COP26 also completed the technical negotiations on the so-called Paris Agreement Rulebook, which fixes the transparency and reporting requirements for all Parties to track progress against their emission reduction targets. The Rulebook also includes the Article 6 mechanisms, which set out the functioning of international carbon markets to support further global cooperation on emission reductions.

On climate finance, the agreed text commits developed countries to double the collective share of adaptation finance within the $100 billion annual target for 2021-2025, and to reach the $100 billion goal as soon as possible. Parties also commit to a process to agree on long-term climate finance beyond 2025. The COP also decided to establish a dialogue between parties, stakeholders and relevant organisations to support efforts to avert, minimise and address loss and damage associated with climate change.

Environmental groups were generally left disappointed by the final results, though acknowledged that moves were 'moving in the right direction'.

"The EU now needs to get behind solutions on finance to address loss and damage, scale up support for adaptation, and strengthen its alliances with African and climate vulnerable countries, aiming for a successful EU Africa Summit in early 2022, towards the African hosted COP27," according to environmental NGO Climate Action Network Europe.

"Governments had to make progress in resolving three major gaps: a gap in targets to reduce emissions, a gap in rules to deliver and monitor progress, and a gap in financing the climate action needed to put the world on a pathway to a safer future," it added.

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