COP26: Glasgow Climate Pact will go down in history, but is the end deal a COP-out?

So a deal was finally reached in Glasgow on Saturday after United Nations climate negotiations spilled over into extra time.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is seen as the most significant climate change deal since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.

COP26 was the biggest event of its kind ever staged in Scotland, with around 25,000 leaders and delegates attending the talks and many thousands more descending on the city to make their voices heard in protest.

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The stated aims of the conference were to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5C within reach, adapt to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilise finance, and work together to deliver the measures.

The Glasgow Pact, agreed by nearly 200 countries at the COP26 climate summit, has received mixed reactions but most agree the goal to restrict global warming to 1.5C is hanging by a very thin thread. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

In the final text, agreed by nearly 200 countries, fossil fuels and a plan to cut coal were mentioned for the first time in the 25-year history of UN COPs.

The document also calls for bigger reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and pledges more money to help developing countries adapt to the changing climate.

But analysis suggests plans are not sufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, a key aim of the Paris Agreement.

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Projections suggest the world is on course to reach 2.4C of warming by the end of the century if promises in the Glasgow pact are carried out – down from the 2.7C predicted under pre-COP proposals.

Reactions to the deal have been mixed, though most acknowledge there is a lot more work to be done – urgently.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “We will be leaving Glasgow with clarity on the work we need to undertake to reach the 1.5C goal.”

For Prime Minister Boris Johnson, COP26 was a success tinged with “disappointment” over watered-down ambitions.

There has also been much more scathing analysis.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg described the conference as “a two-week-long celebration of business as usual and the blah, blah, blah”.

Climate justice campaigner Asad Rehman, from the COP26 Coalition, which organised the biggest protest of the conference, said: "This agreement is an utter betrayal of the people.

“It is hollow words on the climate emergency from the richest countries, with an utter disregard of science and justice.

“At COP26, the richest got what they came here for and the poorest leave with nothing.”

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