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Did COP26 do enough?

With the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) climate change summit having come to a close, many have been left wondering: what has been achieved?

Whilst the Glasgow Climate Pact has been signed, binding nations to accelerate action in mitigating the effects of climate change, the UN Secretary General has claimed that “It is an important step but is not enough”. The goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC (compared to pre-industrial levels) seems increasingly out of reach as each Conference of Parties drifts by. Nations fell short of necessary actions such as calling for an end to fossil fuels or the widespread implementation of carbon pricing, which would take into account the external costs of its use.

However, on a more positive note, some progress has been made, including the promise to end deforestation by 2030, and the extensive recognition that vulnerable groups (including indigenous people and women in developing countries) are key stakeholders in the climate crisis. Developed countries have reassured those most at risk that they will be supported, and $100 billion has been committed in order to protect these fragile communities. In addition, the significance of international diplomacy has been reinforced.

Increased investment in renewable solutions, including the end of fossil fuel subsidies, is yet to come, yet the potential liaison between public and private funding leaves a spark of hope in a world where change is the only constant.

Whether this years COP was really the “turning point for humanity”, as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested, is up to each individual to decide, but what is certain is that the prognosis seems far from promising.

Claudia Maggs, Year 13

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