The Paris Agreement aimed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Although this figure may seem small, even a rise by this much will still bring about floods, drought and extinction on a staggering scale. Pre-COP, however, the world was on track to have a 2.7 degrees temperature rise by 2100, and therefore, concrete pledges were needed to stand a chance of sticking to the Paris Agreement.
Pledges made included:
- 130 countries promised to halt and reverse deforestation
- 23 countries have committed to phasing out coal power
- India aims to be net-zero by 2070
- 450 companies committed $130 trillion of private capital to transform the economy for net-zero
Meanwhile, the US and China – the planet´s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – made a firm commitment to create a dialogue on climate change issues, and boost cooperation to combat global warming. The two nations have pledged to encourage decarbonisation and electrification policies, as well as work together to cut methane emissions from the fossil and waste sectors.
Education Ministers also attended COP26, and alongside Environment Ministers made big commitments to collaborate between the education and environmental sectors. Currently 88% of people believe schools have a responsibility to teach pupils about the climate crisis, and pledges made by governments worldwide aim to act on this.
Ministers committed to:
- Integrate sustainability and climate change into the core curriculum
- Make the climate crisis an important part of teacher training, exams and guidelines
- Collaborate between the private sector and public sector
- Highlight education and learning opportunities in national adaptation plans
Many big pledges were made at COP26. However, the important thing is whether these promises convert into action, as we are running out of time to fight climate change.