3 Positive Highlights From The COP26 Climate Summit!

Feb 04, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Following the highly anticipated COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the positive highlights from the two-week-long United Nations Climate Change Conference!

COP26 Climate Change ConferenceCOP26 Climate Change Conference

Need A Refresher On COP26 & The Paris Agreement?

The 26th Conference Of the Parties (COP26) was regarded as the most important climate summit in years! For two weeks in Glasgow, Scotland, world leaders gathered to bring their updated climate ambitions to the table. 

Remember the Paris Agreement? Back in 2015, 195 countries signed a treaty to limit global warming to well below 2°C, and preferably 1.5°C to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Every five years or so, signatories are expected to update their emissions reduction targets. This year, all eyes were fixated on world leaders and their plans to cut emissions by 2030.   

Thankfully, a lot of positive progress was made at COP26. Take a look at the top three highlights below!

Ako Sharma COP26Ako Sharma COP26

#1: 190+ Countries & Organisations Pledge To End Coal Power

More than 190 countries, organisations and financial institutions have pledged to phase out coal power and stop building new coal-fired power plants! Some of the biggest coal-consuming countries in the world — including Canada, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, Indonesia and Vietnam — have agreed to phase out coal in the 2030s, with smaller economies agreeing to do so within the 2040s. 

We know that burning fossil fuels is the biggest driver of climate change — so, If we have any chance of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C — fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas must stay buried within the ground. These 40+ countries are declaring that coal power has no part to play in the future. 

Joe Biden Global Methane PledgeJoe Biden Global Methane Pledge

#2: 100+ Countries Pledge To Cut Methane Emissions By 30%

When it comes to climate talks, methane tends to be that sneaky gas that flies under the radar! Upon its release into the atmosphere, the powerful greenhouse gas is roughly 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a twenty-year period. Plus, it’s responsible for around 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times.

At COP26, more than 100 countries pledged to curb methane emissions by 30% by 2030 under the Global Methane Pledge! The initiative was launched by the United States and the European Union with great success. One of the biggest names NOT on the list is… Australia. Cutting methane emissions could alter the trajectory of our climate within the next 20 years and slow down warming.  

Joe Biden Boris Johnson DeforestationJoe Biden Boris Johnson Deforestation

#3: 130+ Countries Pledge To End Deforestation By 2030

More than 130 countries have pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030! The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use will protect around 33 million square km of forest. Around $19 billion in public and private funding has been allocated to the cause.

The countries that have signed the pledge — including Australia, Brazil,  Russia, China, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United States, and the United Kingdom — are home to around 90% of the world’s forests.

Maintaining the health of our forests is integral in the fight against climate change. Forests absorb around 30% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Scott Morrison Coal Climate PolicyScott Morrison Coal Climate Policy

Out Of 60+ Countries, Australia Ranks Last On Climate Policy

For Australia, the weeks leading up to COP26 were a rollercoaster — nobody was certain whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison would make an appearance. 

As one of the few countries that did not offer an updated 2030 emissions reduction target prior to COP26, Australia is facing increasing pressure to do so — especially from our European, American and Pacific allies.

In the annual Climate Change Performance Index report — which ranks 60+ countries on their greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy — Australia ranked dead last in the category of climate policy. In fact, we were the only country to score zero for its climate policy. 

Although there’s still a lot of work to do within this decade, world leaders at COP26 have created several initiatives to tackle new coal-fired power stations, global methane emissions, deforestation and land degradation! We are, however, quite disappointed in Australia’s efforts on the world stage. COP26 has shown that Australia is becoming even more isolated in its approach to climate policy and emissions reduction targets — all whilst our allies strengthen their partnerships and power ahead with ambitious pledges. 

If you’re curious to hear about more positive climate news, head to our Eco News category and check out the blogs below.

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