COP26 – a partial success

Posted on 16 November 2021

Opinions vary as to whether COP26 was a success. 
Least Developed Countries (LDC Group), representing 46 of the poorest countries most vulnerable to climate change while contributing the least, acknowledged the progress while calling for more action.
‘We have to acknowledge the final decision is far from enough to match the scale of the crisis and to meet the needs of our countries
But at least the world has agreed to ramp up climate action a bit further this decade, spend more on adaptation, and even for the first time, agreed that (some) fossil fuels like coal must go, writes Olivia Wannan in Stuff.
The Economist (paywall) conceded that there were now 'three ways to start doing a little bit more'. 'changing timetables (countries will now increase their climate pledges by 2022 instead of half way through the decade); tweaking financing arrangements (a modest increase of funding for poorer countries to adapt to climate change); and allowing for new kinds of multilateralism, or 'coalitions of the willing' of countries, companies and cities, to finance de-carbonisation in developing countries.
No-one got everything they wanted. Developing countries like India and China pushed back on 'phasing out' coal, in favour of the less restrictive 'phasing down'. As the Ugandan President put it bluntly: 'Africans have a right to use reliable, cheap energy.'
This was one of the hardest trade-offs: How to support the poorest communities and their right to access cheap and abundant energy sources, but also reduce carbon emissions globally and more quickly?

There was at least some increase in climate funding to developing countries, to support them transitioning off fossil fuels. Rich countries agreed to almost double financing for climate adaptation - such as building sea walls - by 2025.
But this won't do anything to lower emissions. In 2009 rich countries promised $100 billion of climate financing each year to poor countries by 2020. By the end of 2019, the annual flow had reached only $80 billion.
It's not just about help to transition off cheaper fossil fuels, but also compensation for damage done, particularly in islands like the Pacific, who have done nothing to contribute to climate change, but have borne the brunt of the impacts - in other words, they want a fund to pay for 'loss and damages'.
Delegates represented 197 country members who make up the annual‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP 27 will be in the remote coastal town of Sharm al-Sheikh, on the Sinai Peninsula, in November 2022.



cop26 climate fossil fuels climate change climate action loss and damage adaptation climate conference