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A Speedy Breakdown of COP26

A Speedy Breakdown of COP26

Today is the last day of COP26, we've all been watching with bated breath as new promises have replaced old, broken ones. 

Here's a very quick summary of some of COP26's key outcomes. Watch this space for some more detailed reflections coming to you in a couple of weeks!

  • 100 countries have pledged to end deforestation by 2030 

Including Brazil, which is key since it's home to the Amazon rainforest. The question on everyone's lips is: can we trust Bolsonaro? 

  • 100 countries have pledged to cut methane by 30%, by 2030

This is the first time major moves have been made on methane, which is an often-overlooked but major contributor to the greenhouse gases causing the climate crisis.

  • The target of 'developed' countries to pledge $100bn to assist 'developing countries' by 2020 has been pushed back to 2023

This pledge was in recognition of the unequal contrinbutions to the climate crisis between 'developed' and 'developing' countries. It also attempts to mitigate the fact that many countries, notably the UK, have already financially benefitted from industrialisation, while other countries are only just beginning to do so. 

  • India, the world's third largest carbon emitter, has pledged to reach net-zero carbon by 2050

All eyes were on India to state their intentions to reach net-zero for the first time. However, as you may have noticed, most goals have been set for 2030, so Modi doesn't seem to be in any major rush. 

  • Jeff Bezos has pledged $2bn towards restoring lost biodiversity and adjusting food systems

*Googles 'Jeff Bezos net worth'* ....thanks I guess? 

  • The USA and China have unexpectedly reached an agreement to work together to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees

This is the level used by COP26 as the goal to aim for, in order to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. To put it into context, we've reached roughly a 1.1 degree increase on pre-industrial levels already. 

  • COP26 has not been inclusive or accessible

This has been a major criticism of COP26. Climate activists and indigenous people have been largely excluded in favour representatives from corporations. Additionally, the event was not wheelchair accessible which lead to one minister being unable to get into the venue at all. 

The reactions to COP26's outcomes have been extremely mixed. It's also worth remembering that a pledge is, well, just a pledge. As we've seen from the disappointments of the Paris Climate Accords, none of this is an guarantee of actual change. 

Jess Wilson

12 Nov 2021