COP26: What to expect from the summit's second week

·3-min read
From reducing methane emissions and phasing out coal to fighting deforestation, the first week of COP26 brought some major announcements and significant pledges from the States present.

From reducing methane emissions and phasing out coal to fighting deforestation, the first week of COP26 brought some major announcements and significant pledges from the States present. But the hardest part no doubt remains to come during this second and final week of the climate conference. Participants will have to make their commitments concrete in order to reach an agreement by the end of the summit.

The second week of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference is off to a flying start. After opening November 1 in the Scottish city, COP26 is now entering its second and final week -- a crucial stage after the major announcements and various pledges from the States attending this climate summit.

As soon as November 2, participants committed to halting deforestation by 2030. This joint declaration will be adopted by more than 100 countries, home to 85% of the world's forests, including the boreal forest in Canada, the Amazon forest in Brazil and the rainforest of the Congo Basin.

The other major action from the beginning of this COP summit is a commitment among nations to reduce their methane emissions -- the second most polluting greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. More than 80 countries signed up to a pledge from the United States and the European Union to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade. Twenty-three new states, including Canada and Poland, also committed to moving away from coal, by the 2030s for developed countries and the 2040s for developing countries.
And these weren't the only notable announcements from the first week of this highly crucial summit. India surprised everyone by announcing its ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2070.

Financial aid for developing countries

Alongside the main, official announcements, outside the walls of the Scottish Event Campus (the Glasgow convention center where COP26 is taking place), opinion is more than mixed. Saturday, November 6, environmental activists, NGO members and citizens from around the world took to the streets to denounce climate inaction and injustice.

And while the activist Greta Thunberg called out the summit as a "greenwash festival," experts remain cautious about the value of the commitments made during the first week. "We've made much more progress in some ways than we could have ever imagined even [...] a couple of years ago, but at the same time we're nowhere near enough," said Helen Mountford, from the think tank World Resources Institute, quoted by AFP.

Former COP21 President Laurent Fabius, who was in Glasgow, Sunday, November 7, reminded States that they shouldn't miss the opportunity to take bold action in order to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. The former French government minister particularly emphasized the importance of governing international carbon markets, as well as the long-standing promise to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries.

According to a study by the NGO Christian Aid, published Monday, November 8 in the journal Nature, the countries most affected by the consequences of global warming could see their GDP per capita collapse by more than 80%.

Financial aid for developing countries is one of the crucial issues of this second week of COP26, which ends November 12. By then, a common text will have to be drafted, approved and signed by all the representatives of the States participating in the summit.

Léa Drouelle

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