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Nearly 200 Nations Adopt Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 Summit: Key Takeaways

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) concluded on 13 November.

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Climate Change
4 min read
Nearly 200 Nations Adopt Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 Summit: Key Takeaways
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The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) concluded on Saturday, 13 November, with leaders from nearly 200 countries committing to the Glasgow Climate Pact.

"The package adopted today is a global compromise that reflects a delicate balance between the interests and aspirations of nearly the 200 parties to the core instruments on the international regime that governs global efforts against climate change," an official statement said.

Alok Sharma, UK President of COP26 said: “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.”

The Glasgow meeting was the 26th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Adaption, Finance, Mitigation of Climate Change: Key Outcomes of COP26 Agreement

Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries, the United Nations said in a press release following the conclusion of the COP26 Summit.

"Finance was extensively discussed throughout the session and there was consensus in the need to continue increasing support to developing countries. The call to at least double finance for adaptation was welcomed by the parties. The duty to fulfill the pledge of providing 100 billion dollars annually from developed to developing countries was also reaffirmed. And a process to define the new global goal on finance was launched."
United Nations

The agreement also encouraged the parties to strengthen their emissions reductions and to align their national climate action pledges with the Paris Agreement.

"On mitigation, the persistent gap in emissions has been clearly identified and parties collectively agreed to work to reduce that gap and to ensure that the world continues to advance during the present decade, so that the rise in the average temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees," said the press release.

Another key outcome of the summit was the conclusion of the Paris rulebook:

"An agreement was reached on the fundamental norms related to Article 6 on carbon markets, which will make the Paris Agreement fully operational. This will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigation as well as adaptation. And the negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework were also concluded, providing for agreed tables and formats to account and report for targets and emissions."
United Nations

The agreement on the new carbon market rules closes down some of the loopholes that had been considered and creates a structured trading regime between countries, as per experts.

India Argues for 'Phasing Down' not 'Phasing Out' of Fossil Fuels

At the climate change plenary in Glasgow that concluded on Saturday, India argued for the 'phasing down' rather than the 'phasing out' of fossil fuels, even as several countries criticised the move.

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav observed at the climate conference that it was not feasible to expect developing nations to make promises about "phasing out" coal and fossil fuel subsidies, when the countries are also working at their development agendas and poverty eradication, news agency PTI reported.

"In such a situation, how can anyone expect that developing countries can make promises about phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies (when) developing countries still have to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication."
Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav
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Earlier, at a stocktaking plenary, India had expressed the "lack of balance" in the draft of the agreement, which it said posed unfair expectations from the developing world on achieving climate finance targets.

"Developing countries have a right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and are entitled to the responsible use of fossil fuels within this scope," Yadav had been quoted as saying by PTI.

The new deal, when it was subsequently finalised, agreed to make efforts to "phase down" the use of coal, phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and provide targeted support to vulnerable nations.

'Glasgow Did Not Deliver 1.5C, it Only Kept the Goal Alive': What Experts Say About the Summit's Outcomes

“Glasgow did not deliver 1.5 degrees celcius. It only kept the goal alive, if countries work hard enough immediately after this COP. NDCs have to be revisited and strengthened next year. We need not just have targets on paper, but real action in practice. COP26 took place in a challenging geopolitical environment. The US and China managed their differences and demonstrated the need for cooperation. But the climate crisis demands the global community to do more than what Beijing and Washington are able to agree."
Li Shuo, Senior Global Policy Advisor, Greenpeace East Asia
"Paris is working. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we have accelerated action, the COP has responded to the IPCC’s call to close the gap towards 1.5, and coal is in the text. But there is a lot more to do. The commitments and claims of the first week on finance, forests, end of public finance for fossil fuel, methane and cars must now be translated into real policy and incorporated in the new NDCs that has to be delivered by 2022. And oil and gas production are still to be addressed... This COP has failed to provide immediate assistance for people suffering now. I welcome the doubling of adaptation finance as climate impacts are every year stronger, loss and damage must be at the top of the agenda for COP 27."
Laurence Tubiana, CEO - European Climate Foundation
“India will be affected by COP26 asking countries to phase out polluting coal power and withdraw inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. India will also have to join other countries to escalate emission reduction actions more frequently. This will not be easy for a lower-middle income country that is trying to lift millions of people out of poverty."
Ulka Kelkar, Climate Programme Director, WRI India
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“The COP26 has definitely narrowed the gap for 1.5 and the processes, which can be taken for future action. But the failure of the US and EU to deliver on the promised USD 100 billion in climate finance remains urgent and central to any ambitious climate action. Blocking the establishment of even a modest fund to help vulnerable communities around the world with the massive loss and damage they are experiencing at the hands of the climate crisis is a serious blow."
Aarti Khosla, Director, Climate Trends

(With inputs from PTI)

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