COP26 achievements: What have world leaders agreed so far?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
World Leaders pose for a group photo at the opening of the COP26 summit in Glasgow (PA)
World Leaders pose for a group photo at the opening of the COP26 summit in Glasgow (PA)

A first draft of the Glasgow Pact that could be agreed on by the end of the Cop26 climate talks has been published.

It is hoped the detail in the draft text will form the basis of an agreement at the end of the conference - Friday November 12.

The document calls on countries to strengthen their emissions-cutting plans in the next year in a bid to keep a goal to limit warming to 1.5C within reach.

It also calls for faster phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels – a first for a UN deal – but there is likely to be strong resistance to this from some countries and it could be taken out of any final agreement.

What else has been agreed at COP26?

World leaders have made a spate of announcements on issues from cutting methane emissions to action on coal and deforestation.

Deforestation

More than 100 world leaders promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, in the COP26 climate summit’s first major deal.

Aerial view of a burning area of Amazon rainforest reserve, south of Novo Progresso in Para state, Brazil (AFP via Getty Images)
Aerial view of a burning area of Amazon rainforest reserve, south of Novo Progresso in Para state, Brazil (AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil, where large swathes of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down, was among the signatories.

Trees can absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide - one of the key greenhouse gases adding to global warming - which makes ending deforestation vital in the fight against climate change.

Methane

A pledge to cut 30 per cent of methane emissions by 2030 has been agreed by more than 100 countries.

US President Joe Biden making the Global Methane Pledge at COP26 (REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden making the Global Methane Pledge at COP26 (REUTERS)

Cutting methane, a powerful but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas which comes from sources including fossil fuel extraction and livestock farming, is seen as making a significant short-term contribution to climate action.

Watch: What is net zero?

Half of the world’s top 30 methane emitters, including the US, EU, Indonesia, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria, Iraq, Vietnam and Canada joined the pledge - but China, Russia and India have not yet. 

Coal

As COP26 President Alok Sharma declared “the end of coal is in sight”, at least 23 nations made new commitments to phase out coal power, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Egypt, Spain, Nepal, Singapore, Chile and Ukraine. 

A coal fired power plant (Lynne Cameron/PA) (PA Archive)
A coal fired power plant (Lynne Cameron/PA) (PA Archive)

It forms a larger 190-strong coalition of countries who have agreed phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants.

Coal remains the single biggest contributor to climate change. Although progress has been made in reducing its use, it still produced about 37 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2019.

Money

Financial institutions have a major role to play in getting the world to net zero, because if they stop lending to coal mines, power stations and other environmentally damaging projects many of them will not be able to go ahead. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak holds his Green Box at the Cop26 summit (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak holds his Green Box at the Cop26 summit (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

An initiative bringing together some 450 banks, pension funds and other financial institutions, who between them control $130trn (£96.3trn), will see a shift towards “clean” green such as renewable energy.

The scheme is an attempt to involve private companies in meeting net zero targets, and to commit them to providing finance for green technology in a shift from fossil-fuel burning industries. 

Watch: What is the Paris Agreement?

Read More

US and China reveal surprise joint declaration promising action at COP26

In Video: Tuvalu minister all at sea with message to Cop26 leaders

Do not sit on your hands at Cop26 talks, Johnson tells world leaders

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting