COP26 was a combination of landmark deals and last-minute negotiations. But what was the verdict?
On October 31, during the opening ceremony of COP26, the world leaders, politicians, members of Royalty, CEOs, climate experts, negotiators and civil servants assembled in Glasgow’s SEC were shown a film. The four-minute video titled ‘Earth to COP’ was comprised of a series of eyewitness footage of natural disasters around the world, from floods in Uganda to fires in Australia. The harrowing clips were briefly replaced by images of the beauty of the natural world, before returning to the scenes of destruction.
Jump forward two weeks and the sense of cautious optimism that filled the arena was replaced by disappointment as last-minute negotiations over the phrasing of the Glasgow Pact resulted in the watering down of the phrase “phasing out” to “phasing down” coal. Overall, pledges to cut emissions fell short of what was required to limit temperatures to 1.5°C and, while progress was undoubtedly made in some areas, many people felt it wasn’t enough.