By James Bollen
COP 26 brought global nations together with the aim of slowing down climate change by mid-century, but is the 1.5 still alive, or is it on life support?
David Attenborough spoke confidently and passionately from the podium at COP 26 in Glasgow. He made many strong and insightful remarks, but he left us with a clear intention for when the pageantry was over - will the measure of the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere rise or fall after the summit? The answer is uncertain, but it’s clear that industries can do more to help.
COP 26 Agreements
After two weeks of presentations and discussions, the curtain finally closed on the UN’s annual climate change summit in Glasgow. So what was the outcome? According to some analysts, activists, and commentators, COP 26 didn’t do nearly enough, but it did agree on some things.
According to COP 26 president, Alok Sharma, the summit succeeded in affirming the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C by mid-century. Successes included talks on limiting coal usage for the first time and rules to govern cross-border carbon credits.
COP 26 Failures
Despite agreements made in the Glasgow Climate Pact, the summit didn’t go far enough according to some analysts. Alok Sharma called for “phasing out” of coal power by mid-century - at 46% coal is the biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change, but calls failed.
Instead, negotiators agreed to “phase-down” coal usage, but developed nations like India and China will continue to use it in the 2040s. There were also failures with regards to climate justice - the adaptation fund received support, but the funding levels remain woefully inadequate.
Action is Needed
Promises, promises, promises. Over one hundred nations promised to cut their methane output by 30% by 2030, and 130 nations possessing 90% of global forests promised to reverse deforestation. To find out what your business can actively do, visit Net-Zero at Surefoot-effect.
The central problem with COP 26 was not necessarily the sentiment, although some say there was more greenwashing than activism on the part of governments; the problem was (and still is) accountability - will nations act on the commitments they have failed to keep at previous COPs?
At present, there is no legal framework for accountability on climate change, which might change when the water starts to rise, but for now, the pledges are based solely on goodwill and cultural pressure. It seems nations are beginning to wake up, but there’s much work to be done.
Some commentators point to the lack of young people and women in future conversations, for instance. Still, there is room for optimism. As climate activist Greta Thunberg said “... the real work continues outside these halls. And, we will never give up, ever.” A popular sentiment.
The Surefoot Effect
It’s no longer possible to ignore the effects of climate change, and your business has a role to play in turning the tide. It’s time to start learning about Net-Zero and building responsibility into your enterprise. If you’re interested in making your business more planet-friendly, visit the Surefoot-Effect and take part in climate change training, mentoring, courses and workshops.
James Bollen is a digital writer and content creator. He writes articles and blogs in a wide range of niches including business and technology but has a particular interest in conscious living practices, nature appreciation, and creative pursuits. He lives in Glasgow with his partner and sibling cats, Hansel and Gretel.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which has been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.