After two weeks of tough negotiations, the 26th UN Climate Conference has come to an end. Member States reached an agreement that the United Nations Secretary-General called an important step in addressing climate change, but not enough.
The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment. “We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” he said.
Mr. Guterres also had a message to young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, and all those leading the charge on climate action. “I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward”.
In this conversation wrap-up, learn about the facts and highlights of the Conference, watch an interview with Martina Donlon, who leads climate communications at the UN, and join Producers Laura Quiñones and Conor Lennon as they look back on the action of the last two weeks. Watch here
After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday an outcome document that, according to the UN Secretary-General, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today”.
“It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees”, said António Guterres in a video statement released at the close of the two-week meeting.
The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment.
The outcome document, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, calls on 197 countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year, at COP27, set to take place in Egypt.
The outcome also firms up the global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade. More
It is common to see rhetoric about how “young people are the future” in relation to climate change. As COP26 enters its final leg, Georgina Ryan, National President of UN Youth, shares her views with UNIC Canberra and believes that waiting to act until today’s young people are in positions of power will be far too late to avoid the catastrophic impacts of global warming.
As a young high school student participating in a Model United Nations debate at the Victorian State Conference in 2017, Georgina Ryan was first exposed to the concept of climate refugees and was baffled by the inadequate support which small island nations of the Pacific region received. “This has metaphorical resonance for the importance of listening to developing countries in the context of today’s international climate policy”, said Ms Ryan, who was inspired to volunteer with UN Youth Australia and is currently the President of UN Youth Australia .
“Given the continued context of devastating bush-fires and floods in Australia over the last two years, young people and their families are increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change in Australia. This is apparent from the preliminary data from the 2021 Listening Tour Report, which is based on consultations with young people run by the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, Lucy Stronach, and UN Youth volunteers”, said Ms Ryan, as she shares about youth and their passion about climate action out of necessity. Continue reading
Governments need to show the necessary ambition on mitigation, adaptation, and finance in a balanced way, and they can’t settle for the “lowest common denominator”, the UN Secretary-General has said in Glasgow, where crucial climate negotiations are in the final stretch. Meanwhile, 13 countries launched a new alliance to end gas and oil, and cities were the theme of the day.
António Guterres told delegates on Thursday that he was inspired by the mobilization of civil society, including young people, indigenous communities, women’s groups, cities and private sector, highlighting that the climate action struggle requires all hands-on deck.
“We know what must be done. Keeping the 1.5 goal within reach means reducing emissions globally by 45 per cent by 2030. But the present set of Nationally Determined Contributions – even if fully implemented – will still increase emissions by 2030,” he reminded participants during a High-Level Event at the plenary.
He then referred to the latest joint analysis by the climate and environment UN agencies, which shows that even with the latest pledges and commitments made at COP26, we remain on track for a catastrophic temperature rise well above 2 degrees Celsius. More
Women took the global stage on Tuesday to show that climate change isn’t gender neutral, and that climate action needs them: investing in women and girls creates ripple effects felt throughout entire communities and the frontline knowledge they possess is needed now more than ever, especially as new analysis has revealed that the announcements by world leaders at COP26 still leave our planet on the path to catastrophic global warming.
After ‘walking’ some 8,000 miles across Europe, Little Amal, a giant puppet representing a young Syrian refugee girl, arrived in Glasgow right on time for ‘Women’s Day’ at COP26.
For millennia, women have had a special relationship with nature. They contribute enormously to the well-being and sustainable development of their communities, as well as to the maintenance of the planet’s ecosystems, biological diversity and natural resources.
However, the recognition of what women contribute, or can contribute, to the survival of the planet and to development remains limited. Gender inequality and social exclusion continue to increase the negative effects of unsustainable and destructive environmental management on women and girls. More
Massive floods, devastating wildfires, and rising seas – along with the countless lives they take and livelihoods they upend – are realities many nations are already facing. Voices from the front lines of climate change and its impacts were centre stage to start week two of COP26, which kicked off Monday in Glasgow with a focus on ‘adaptation, loss and damage’.
Their main call: developed countries must uphold their promise of finance and support to the small states that are at risk of losing so much to the combat against climate change.
Meanwhile, the COP26 presidency held a ‘stock take event’ to discuss the current state of the negotiations at the conference. Fittingly, representatives of developing countries made a strong call to resolve remaining items left on the agenda with a special emphasis on finance.
They also said that the plethora of commitments announced last week are welcomed, but action remains to be seen. More
Fittingly, the sun broke through the clouds over Glasgow on Thursday as delegations and participants prepared for ‘energy day’ at COP26, one of the key thematic sessions taking place during the UN climate summit.
President of the Conference Alok Sharma announced the new Global Clean Power Transition Statement, a commitment to end coal investments, scale up clean power, make a just transition, and phase out coal by the 2030´s in major economies, and in the 2040´s elsewhere.
The pledge has 77 signatories, including 46 countries such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile, 23 of which are making commitments on ending coal for the first time, he explained.
“All this helps to power the world to Net-Zero. We know that there is more to be done, it’s up to all of us governments, business, financial institutions and civil society and we must continue building the moment though alliances and coalitions. I do believe that the end of coal is in sight. I believe that we are getting to a point where we consign coal power to history”, he told the plenary room. More
The UN barometer of world food prices has surged to a new peak, reaching its highest level since July 2011, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced this Thursday.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the international prices of a basket of food commodities, is up 3.9 per cent from September, rising for a third consecutive month.
Feeding the world population is also responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a priority in the fight against climate change.
The report, Renewable energy for agri-food systems – Towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, shares several examples of how that can be accomplished.
Solar irrigation, for example, can improve access to water, enabling multiple cropping cycles and increasing resilience to changing rainfall patterns. More
A pivotal pledge to save and restore our planet’s forests was officially announced on the second day of the COP26 World Leaders Summit, and with that deal came a long list of commitments from public and private sector actors to combat climate change, curb biodiversity destruction and hunger, and to protect indigenous peoples’ rights.
“Today is going to be a monumental day, we are setting the tone of how we can preserve the lungs of the world,” declared Master of Ceremony Sandrine Dixson-Declève, who welcomed participants to the key Leaders Event on Forest and Land Use at COP26 on Tuesday.
Next, a film narrated by Sir David Attenborough played on the screens.
“By destroying forests, we are harming biodiversity and our lives… Forests provide fresh water, clean the air we breathe, inspire spiritual value, and provide us with food…Our challenge now must be to halt deforestation and beginning to restore forests. It is a huge undertaking, and every country will need their own table approach.” His unmistakable voice resonated throughout the venue. And his call to action was heard.
“Signing the Declaration is the easy part. It is essential that it is implemented now for people and the planet,” UN chief António Guterres urged on his official twitter account. More
With world leaders expressing hope that the goal of supplying $100 billion a year in climate finance support for developing countries is within reach, the UN Secretary-General warned on Tuesday that the target would likely not be met until 2023 and would require additional funding after that.
António Guterres was speaking at the High Level Climate Vulnerable Countries Leaders’ Dialogue, Tuesday, during the UN’s COP26 climate conference.
According to news reports, the latest diplomatic effort, led by Germany and Canada, aims to pull together the required funding by 2023, three years after the deadline established by the Paris Agreement.
This morning, also at COP26, the President of the General Assembly met with Heads of State and Government of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
Abdulla Shahid highlighted that no other group of countries are as at risk of immediate and severe climate impact and no others are as close to the frontlines as they are. More