COP 26: what if all of this effort finally didn’t amount to a hill of beans?

“The world is at one minute to midnight and we need to act now”, was the turn of phrase chosen by Boris Johnson in his opening speech before the Twenty-Sixth Conference of the Parties held in Glasgow. Whilst the Doomsday Clock is actually at 100 seconds to midnight, rather than one minute, the situation remains worrying, and as a result, the COP26 summit has been nicknamed the “last chance saloon”.

Despite this rather grave context, the G20 meeting which immediately preceded the COP26 did not bode well. Apart from a common agreement to stop the financing of new coal power stations abroad, no concrete measure was announced to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a point on which the leaders of the world’s twenty most powerful countries had agreed.

As the conference ends this Friday, 12th November, is it fair to say that COP 26 is a failure?

As a reminder, this annual event is held over two parts, each lasting a week. During the first seven days, over a hundred Heads of State will take turns to speak with the aim of reiterating the urgency of the climate crisis and the importance of reaching agreements to respect the Paris Agreement, which sets out the target of limiting global warming
to 1.5°C.

The Heads of State then conduct negotiations to begin to outline solutions, which in turn are discussed with regard to their technical implementation during the second week. The objective of the second week is therefore to deal with concrete issues and outline suitable solutions so that a majority of countries sign an agreement.

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