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Did we succeed at COP26? Key decisions made and our take on them.

The Paris Agreement was arguably the most significant international conference on climate change since it was signed in 2015; the focus, however, shifts towards Glasgow as world leaders converge for COP26.

At Climefort, we have followed the events of COP26 very closely and share the concerns brought up by different organisations. We are hopeful that the steps being implemented under COP26 will permit a more habitable environment for future generations.

Cooperation gives us cause for hope

Enormous challenges, like climate change, can often feel so overwhelming that we feel powerless to overcome them. However, when we collaborate and cooperate, as nations worldwide have through COP26, we create opportunities to act together, making it possible to overcome the challenge at hand.

Here are some of the reasons cooperation at COP26 has left us feeling hopeful:

Unexpected Acts Of Cooperation

During COP26, we were pleasantly surprised by the joint statement [1] made by the United States and China — given their frostier relations in more recent years — where they committed to enhanced action on climate change.

The two most significant national contributors to CO2 emissions [2] reaffirmed their commitments to the 1.5°C targets. Furthermore, both nations briefly discussed their intention to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions [1]

Infographic Of Contribution to CO2 Emissions by Different Countries

While their statement alone cannot solve the climate crisis, it is encouraging to see that both sides are committed to working together in the spirit of cooperation.

Phasing Out Fossil Fuels

While the final text on the phasing out of fossil fuels was certainly more diluted than many COP26 attendees may have liked [3], given that the fossil fuel industry made up the largest delegation at COP26 [4], it’s a miracle that some mention of phasing-out fossil fuels made it into the agreement at all.

While progress is still slow, it is becoming increasingly untenable for politicians to avoid taking any action at all shows that the tide is starting to turn on the fossil fuel industry.

Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance

Despite the diluted use of speeches mentioning the phasing out of fossil fuels at COP26, it was remarkable to witness statements released by Costa Rica & Denmark. Both the countries had announced the formation of a Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance (BOGA), which would phase out both oil and gas production [8].

Although BOGA consists of 12 member states, many are not significant oil and gas producers [9]. Thus, unfortunately, the simple existence of this alliance is unlikely to make a material difference in reducing the production of these fossil fuels.

However, where there is cooperation, there are increased opportunities. We can only hope that their combined efforts in collective action and coordinated diplomacy will bring us closer to a carbon-neutral world.

Action On Deforestation

Our forests are crucial to tackling climate change. However, with forests across the planet responsible for removing around 7.6 billion tons of CO2 every year [6], all deforestation is an obstacle to achieving the 1.5°C targets.

Widespread Deforestation Is Prevalent Worldwide

The fact that over 100 countries have promised to stop deforestation by 2030 [5] shows that this fact is recognised by governments worldwide. Given that 85% of the world’s forests occupy the countries [7] that signed up to this pledge, we hope this will make a material difference in preserving these vital ecosystems.

Agreement on Article 6: Rules on Carbon Markets

Since The Paris Agreement, a sticking point on the COP agenda has been the rules for Article 6 on carbon markets. Article 6 aims to allow countries who are achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to tackle climate change to sell their carbon credits to nations or businesses that are not performing. In theory, this will generate revenue for further green initiatives [10].

The previous talks had significant disagreements on issues like the potential for double-counting credits, the percentage of revenue from carbon credits levied on the adaption fund, and the number of carbon credits cancelled to mitigate emissions. We are pleased to announce that we have finally overcome these issues through COP26.

Whilst an agreement has been reached; what is more important is to maintain an international co-operation.

Promising Projections

The International Energy Agency shared projections during COP26 that if the pledges made at COP26 are implemented, it will ensure global temperature rises to a 1.8°C rise above pre-industrial levels - a significant improvement on existing policies [9].

Although 1.8°C is still above the 1.5°C targets set out in the Paris Agreement, it shows that the pledges countries are making to tackle climate change can make a meaningful difference [9].

Innovation Makes Hope a Reality

While we are hopeful after the positive cooperation among nations at COP26, we acknowledge that hope alone is not a solution.

At Climefort, we recognise the vital role of green technologies' innovation in creating a carbon-neutral future for our planet. And if you and/or your organisation are developing new technologies that will help create a cleaner, healthier planet, we are here to support you.

Get in touch to explore ways in which Climefort can help you achieve both environmental and commercial sustainability.

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