COP26 - Five Years on From the Paris Agreement, Where Are We?

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (11.12.2021)
Nov 22, 2021 10:05 AM ET

COP26 - Five Years on from the Paris Agreement, Where Are We?

GLASGOW, Scotland, November 22, 2021 /3BL Media/ - This week the COP26 news reports coming out of this city seem to be everywhere. The Conference of the Parties (“COP”) is the annual gathering sponsored by the United Nations (this is the 26th) of world leaders in public, private and social sectors, coming together to debate and decide on the future path of the global society’s efforts to address climate change challenges.

Almost 200 nations are officially parties to the “Paris Agreement” -- the accord reached at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. This is a legally binding global treaty for most nations and called for:

  1. substantially reducing GHG emissions to limit global temperature rise to 2C, while striving to limit to 1.5C (2.7F) within this century.
  2. reviewing countries’ commitments every five years (and here we are in Glasgow doing that, with “Nationally Determined Contributions” or NDCs in focus).
  3. providing financing by developed economies to developing countries to help these smaller economies develop “resilience” to the effects of climate change.

The UN explains that the Paris Agreement “provided a durable framework to guide the global effort by all sectors in all nations in the decades leading out to the end of the 21st Century and is a marker for the intended shift toward a “net zero emissions” world.” 

The Agreement also is essential, says the UN, for the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 167 underlying targets. These have target dates of 2030 – just eight years in the future.

Reviewing these commitments in open settings both inside and outside of the official meetings results in often controversial exchanges of views at the annual gatherings. For instance, there are many complaints that developed countries are not providing sufficient financing to developing countries to help them adequately address the growing effects of climate change.

As you read this, we are expecting to see the final communique coming out of COP26 that will help to explain “agreements reached” by official participants. Meanwhile, there is abundant news for you in many media channels about what has been happening in Scotland as the world leaders in public, private and social sectors gathered and exchanged views. Among the headlines of course is that the United States is back at the table, and President Joseph Biden, former Secretary of State John Kerry (the special envoy for climate change action in the U.S.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are among the many representatives of the nation at the talks.

We are providing a selection of updates for you about COP26 proceedings in this newsletter in the Top Stories section and a number of news reports and shared perspectives that are related to the COP26 gathering.

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.