The COP26 is still ongoing, but with just the pledges from the first four days, the world is on track to limit global warming to 1.8C. Before this conference, the world was on track for 2.7C, so it’s a massive improvement.
That said, we are still above the 1.5C goal that the Paris Agreement initially called for. However, the conference isn’t over and there is still room for more announcements to come out that could get us on track.
Of course, like most climate pledges, the real question is if countries will follow through with them.
Why Are We Not On Track for 1.5C?
So the real question is what’s missing for the world to be on track for 1.5C? And that would be a deal on coal.
While most of the world is in the process of retiring coal, it is still expected to be in use for decades. And some of the biggest players like China, are continuing to build new coal plants to this very day.
Currently, coal is still responsible for the biggest share of carbon emissions, 40%, each year. And while 23 countries pledged to phase out coal power, most didn’t. More importantly, none of the major players did.
This includes nations like China, India, and even the United States.
With the new pledges in mind, that brings the total up to 46 countries that have agreed to phase out coal. Ultimately, this is below the expectations of the IEA.
Funding Is Also A Problem
Another issue that is causing some problems is funding. Underdeveloped nations, particularly in the South, are likely to face the worst of climate change. Thus, they are looking for extra funding.
Now funding is always a touchy subject, but there have already been some huge announcements in regards to acquiring the money needed with total funding exceeding $100 trillion. However, some countries feel entitled to more, or a bigger cut.
This has been a major talking point.
In defense of the smaller nations, their contribution to climate change is much smaller compared to developed nations. And they are going to be experiencing the worst of what climate change brings while being unequipped to deal with it.
On the flip side, developed nations are already funding these nations so they can prepare for such issues. The Paris Agreement was not created to blame one country and reward another. It was to fight climate change.
It’s a sore subject for all parties, but something that needs to be discussed.
What Other New Pledges Could Be Announced?
So far, the meeting has achieved a lot. We have a huge agreement to end and reverse deforestation, new funding opportunities, more pledges to phase out coal (not enough though), more nations agreeing to cut methane emissions, and more.
In terms of big announcements, it’s really anyone’s guess.
Perhaps the world will follow the United States in banning hydrofluorocarbons in refrigerators and airconditioning units. Or perhaps they might discuss improvements to the global recycling system.
There’s a lot of room for improvement, nations just need to take the initiative.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.