COP26: What are the COP26 outcomes on the last day of the climate conference?

After two weeks of events, protests, and high-level talks, what is different now when compared to before COP26 started?

Thought to be one of the most significant climate events of the last few years, COP26 has brought together world leaders, activists, and delegates from all over the world to discuss solutions and plans to manage the ever-worsening climate crisis.

With a different topic discussed each day by decision-makers and frontline voices, it was hoped by many that COP26 would reinvigorate agreements from the past, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, and establish new ones to help mitigate the damaging effects of climate change around the world.

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However, many climate activists have been quick to criticise those attending COP26 for not going far enough and not sticking to past agreements.

For example, youth activist Greta Thunberg has criticised the summit, writing on Twitter that “this is no longer a climate conference. This is a Global North greenwash festival. A two week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.”

So what has actually been decided or established at COP26 so far? Here are the outcomes of the climate conference as it draws to a close.

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When is the last day of COP26?

After two weeks of protests and talks, it's time to see what will actually come from COP26. Photo: JPI Media.After two weeks of protests and talks, it's time to see what will actually come from COP26. Photo: JPI Media.
After two weeks of protests and talks, it's time to see what will actually come from COP26. Photo: JPI Media.

Today, November 12th, is the official last day of COP26, although it’s expected that discussions around the agreement to come out of it will continue over the weekend.

What is the COP26 draft text?

The text that will form the basis of an agreement for the end of the conference, to be signed by all the countries that attended, is still being finalised.

Once signed, this agreement will be legally binding. It’s important to note, nonetheless, that the Paris Agreement is also legally binding and yet many countries are not on track for adhering to its demands.

However, we have been able to see the draft text, which gives an idea of what will be included in the announcement.

In it, we see countries being requested to reveal their national plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this time at a much faster rate than previously demanded.

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Developed nations are also being asked to provide at least double the amount of adaptation finance that they currently give to countries that are already feeling the damaging effects of climate change.

The draft text also contains watered-down commitments on ending the use of coal and other fossil fuels.

Instead of phasing out coal, the wording was changed to “unabated coal”, meaning coal-burning done without any carbon capture or storage.

However, including mention of phasing out coal would still be a landmark step when it comes to global climate agreements.

The US and China have also announced a joint pledge to boost climate cooperation over the next decade, collaborating on a range of issues, such as methane emissions, transitioning to clean energy, and decarbonisation.

This comes despite the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping did not join other world leaders at COP26.

What are the COP26 outcomes so far?

Other key announcements decided on so far include:

- World leaders from over 100 countries also promised to stop deforestation by 2030.

- A planned scheme to cut 30% of current methane emissions by 2030, confirmed by over 100 countries.

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- 450 financial organisations, with shared financial control of $130 trillion, have agreed to back technology such as renewable energy and financing away from fossil fuels.

When will the agreement text be finalised?

Discussions around the draft text are expected to continue into the evening on Friday November 12th, and potentially into the weekend.

It’s believed that positions around climate financing and ambitions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are the key sticking points around the new agreement.

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