While COP26 ending was not necessarily a notable success, it was also not a terrible failure. The meeting was adopted by nearly 200 countries where for two weeks they engaged in intense negotiations in attempts to help solve issues involved with the planet as a whole. After a year filled with the horrors and challenges of climate change, representatives began long talks about how to solve the issues.
Worsening climate conditions including hot droughts, terribles floods, water shortages, and storms have been ravaging countries across the globe. While such things tear through the world many countries believe that an international agreement may never save the day. Even a major country like China understands that our world can not thrive with the ever-worsening climate conditions.
While China did not make any earth-shattering new commitments today In 2020, four out of ten renewable energy jobs were located in China, more than any other single country. In Europe climate change contributed heavily in the 2003 heatwave that was harmful to more than 20,000 people. One of the biggest major poster children for climate-driven responses is the Great Barrier Reef.
On a daily basis the biggest reef on Earth is faced with rising temperatures that lead to death of large chunks of the reef. The United States is a country that sits on the tipping point of two major issues – climate change disaster and the economics of renewable energy beginning to drive a national transition away from fossil fuels.
While talks continued for days many nations could not agree to rein in emissions in a time frame that is fast enough to avoid the worst damage that could be caused by climate-driven storms, heat waves, and droughts. Although in a last minute effort India has tried to weaken any efforts to phase out coal based industries. India being a country heavily reliant on coal power still agreed to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. Other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Brazil agreed to reach net zero by 2060 and 2050 respectively.
More than 100 countries have agreed and signed a pledge at the summit to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Another coalition of countries have agreed to halt deforestation 2030, including countries like Brazil and Russia which are heavily- forested. Even with all of these pledges it still is not projected to reduce emissions fast enough to keep the world within the critical 1.5 Celsius limit by 2100. Currently the world is on track to increase by 1.8 degrees celsius of warming by 2100. While 1.8 degrees is a solid improvement on previous pledges it still is not enough to stop the higher temperatures from fueling more destructive storms.
At the same time many poorer countries blame richer countries saying that they are responsible for the bulk of climate emissions and that their countries are suffering the most. While these countries are very disappointed in the fact that COP26 has ended mostly with promises that their pleas would be addressed in the near future. In an unpresented move the United States and China have agreed to work together to “strengthen and accelerate climate action and cooperation” in the short term. This is the first time the biggest emitters of climate change related materials have ever agreed to do so.