196 Nations Agree to New Climate Change Deal At COP26 Summit

The BBC is hailing "the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases." But they also report that developing nations "were unhappy about the lack of progress on what's known as 'loss and damage', the idea that richer countries should compensate poorer ones for climate change effects they can't adapt to." And the Guardian reports that "In relative terms, the agreements and deals made by the 196 nations in Glasgow nudged the world a little closer towards the path to keeping global temperature rises below 1.5C and avoiding the worst of the climate crisis's impacts. "But in absolute terms, there is still a mountain to climb." Before Cop26, firm pledges to cut emissions by 2030 pointed to 2.7C of global heating — a catastrophe. After, the figure is 2.4C — still a catastrophe. Longer term promises to go to net zero emissions, notably by India, might possibly restrict heating to 1.8C by the end of the century, but lack the concrete plans to be credible. And 1.8C still means immense suffering to people and the planet. The key agreements sealed in Glasgow essentially kick the can down the road. Big emitting nations with feeble plans to cut emissions must return in a year to improve them — that is how 1.5C can be said to still be alive. The $100bn a year to pay for clean energy in developing countries promised a decade ago for 2020 will not be delivered until 2023... There are positives to build on. The 196 nations are now firmly fixed on the 1.5C target demanded by the science. For the first time, nations are called on to "phase down" coal and fossil fuel subsidies in a Cop text... Deals on ending the razing of forests by 2030, cutting emissions of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — and making green technology like electric cars the cheapest option globally are all encouraging, even if the pact to end sales of fossil fuel powered cars stalled, with the major markets and manufacturers failing to sign up. An end to international finance for coal power will also dent emissions and some of the most outrageous loopholes in proposed rules for a global carbon market rules were closed — but not all, and cheats may yet prosper.

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