COP26 summit in Glasgow: the resolution and the limitations to know

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A climate agreement was reached on Saturday at the UN Climate Change (COP26) summit. The final text points explicitly to coal as the single biggest contributor to climate change. The final agreement now refers to a phasing “down” of coal as opposed to a phasing “out.” Government negotiators from nearly 200 countries have adopted a new deal on climate action. The deal moved the world forward on containing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Nation after nation talked about the final provisions not going far or fast enough but a compromise was better than nothing and provided progress, if not success. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius. The ragged final hours of Cop26 were a distinct contrast to the carefully choreographed first days. Notable at that summit was the absences of the leaders of Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, all major contributors to the crisis.

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A declaration on ending deforestation by 2030 and a plan to coordinate the global introduction of clean technologies in order to rapidly drive down their cost must also be retained. They were agreed not by all nations. Many are sceptical of how plausible it is to rely on big business to step into. The UK hosts were not joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, founded by Denmark and Costa Rica as a club of countries committed to phasing out oil and gas production. “This is now a global north greenwash festival, a two-week-long celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah,” the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told the crowd of 10,000 young people in George Square, outside the summit. Hundreds of environmental, indigenous and women’s rights organisations revealed they were being excluded from negotiating areas, given limited tickets and prevented from joining online due to technical glitches.