Credit: Lucy Dunn

COP26: What are we expecting?

By Claire Thomson

Negotiations are quickly drawing to a close and it is time to consider the bigger picture surrounding the climate crisis.

We’re past halfway at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. With many commitments already being agreed upon and several conferences held over the past week, now is the time to put these into the bigger picture and consider the end goal. The final deal is looming, and the draft has just been published, but what are we truly expecting to be pledged before the world leaders and delegates jet back off across the world?

Going into the event, there were four main goals: to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius and secure a global net-zero by 2050; adapt to protect communities and natural habitats; mobilise funding; and join together to make a difference. 

So far, all the promises that have been made have reflected on aspects of and been centred around these targets. The expectation is that the final deals that are being secured this week will encompass all of these goals and provide both developed and developing countries with the strategies and funding to move forward and limit temperature rises. 

We are anticipating technical and political negotiations in the next few days as the conference draws to a close. World leaders are under the pressure of one another, scientists and climate activists to make changes to reduce carbon emissions and agree to a variety of different commitments. The main questions this week surround the $100bn that will be mobilised to cause action and actually make these changes happen. Will the developed countries that are largely responsible for the climate crisis choose to support the poorer countries, to make the switch to renewable energy instead of acting upon the issue themselves first? Is the way forward to invest in the strategies of developing countries?

Climate finance will be the final nail in the coffin, hopefully securing all of these commitments and allowing short term actions rather than merely long term promises. Upcoming debates and meetings will determine whether politicians and world leaders are serious about implementing policies to stay within that 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

We are expecting optimism to come from the final deal: the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be reevaluated and amended appropriately so that we can achieve them and not jeopardise our planet even more. We want the focus to be redirected from the “what” and onto the “how”. We know what changes need to be made, but the question is: how are we going to make those changes, and hit those targets?

The world has moved on a lot since the Paris Agreement in 2015. COP26 has been approached with enhanced ambition and a desire to do better. The hope is that these commitments and the final deal will pave the way to a brighter future for our planet.


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