World

COP26 summit concludes with Glasgow climate pact to reduce fossil fuel use

The COP26 summit ended on Saturday with countries committing to adopt the Glasgow Climate Pact.

COP26 was a climate summit that was supposed to be the world’s best and last chance at keeping the global temperature within the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Leaders from countries all over the world gathered to find ways to reduce carbon and methane emissions worldwide and stop the rising global temperature. The event closed this weekend with a plan and agreement in place.

The agreement’s original wording was stronger and entailed more measures; however, after negotiations, the language was not as strong. The final agreement was supposed to be made on Friday night, but ended up taking until Saturday for negotiations to come to a close.

India and Iran had objections to the original wording. India accepted the language at the last minute, given the wording would change from coal being phased “out” to phased “down”. Critics of this change feel that this allows countries to continue using coal without repercussions. 

Some scientists have claimed that to stop the average temperatures from surpassing a lethal level and a 2.4 degrees Celsius rise in the global temperature by the end of the century, extreme action must be taken. According to them, this means greenhouse gas emissions will have to be cut by 50% in the next eight years and the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Already, scientists say the world has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which will increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius on its current trajectory.

Alok Sharma, the president of COP26, said he was “deeply sorry” that things didn’t end differently. “I understand the deep disappointment. It’s also vital we protect this package.” Sharma was reportedly on the floor, acting as a “whip” in pushing people to vote to approve the agreement. Jennifer Morgan, the executive director said, “It’s meek, it’s weak and the 1.5C goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending. And that matters,” as she saw that coal’s inclusion amounted to a win.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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