Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas, and inspiration from across the world that demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. With COP26 now done and dusted, we’re looking at outcomes from the second week and whether the summit should be considered a success.
Essential numbers from COP26
It was a busy and eventful two weeks at the COP26 summit, and this handy overview outlines some of the essential numbers we should all be aware of. In general, there’s a feeling that a greater sense of urgency is required; another isolated gathering agreeing to pledges with targets based way out in the future just doesn’t seem enough.
So it was suggested countries should come back to the table in 2022 with even better pledges to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets”. Given the need for momentum, this sounds like a sensible approach, but several countries, including the U.S. and Australia, have said they will not return.
As we touched upon in our last update, there are tensions around rich countries not meeting their obligations to developing countries, especially as a number of pledges in the past have not been met.
These tensions were acknowledged at COP26, and developed countries committed to “at least double” previous provisions, which should amount to around $40billion, which, if upheld, is significant progress.
What happens in 2022?
The COP26 was a highly publicized event where plenty of promises and pledges were made. And it’s left people wondering, what happens next?
As we head towards a new year, COP26 has initiated a “climate to-do list,” and these 5 things to watch for in 2022 need to start happening fairly imminently if we are to see tangible outcomes.
As mentioned above, there are plans to meet again next year, in November, actually, but not everyone has agreed to reconvene, so we’ll need to wait and see what happens there.
Many countries have made a commitment to phase out the use of coal, so there will be a focus on those who are most heavily dependent next year; we will watch their progress toward green energy solutions closely.
Yet, there are many reasons why it’s challenging to quit coal; livelihoods in developed countries often depend on it. There will need to be a transition to green energy sources, which isn’t straightforward, so we can expect many complications.
There will also be a focus on finances in 2022; rich countries are hoping to reach a $100bn climate finance target as early as next year, so we won’t have to wait long to see if this is achievable.
Success or failure?
The question many of us are probably wondering is: was COP26 a success or failure? There are many opinions on this particular question, and the general consensus amongst activists is that it wasn’t enough. But what are the reasons to see it as a success?
There's an argument here that COP26 saw robust action taken which
“reinforced the commitment of all parties, expanded the scope of the conversation to methane and fossil fuel phasing out, and raised the expectations for next year’s COP.”
Success can often be measured against expectations, and so it depends on how feasible many of these expectations were in the first place. We took a little look back before the climate summit to see what was on the wish list.
Expectations included more ambitious climate pledges, maintaining the 1.5-degree commitment, and wealthier countries taking greater responsibility. It was also felt that success would look like closing gaps on emissions and agreeing on details not yet resolved from the Paris Agreement.
At a glance, it’s immediately clear to see that many of these expectations were considered. Still, until we start to see something tangible, it will be very difficult to label COP26 as a success or indeed a failure.
Acknowledging the IPCC
This is a great guest post from a group of professors, directors, and scientists exploring how COP26 finally recognized the latest IPCC climate science. Acknowledging science-based evidence in the fight against climate change might sound fairly obvious, yet at COP24 in Poland, the IPCC special report on 1.5-degree warming was simply noted rather than fully recognized.
None of the evidence from the report was taken and used to help build solid outcomes. This, as you might expect, was a cause for concern, and there were worries that something similar would happen in Glasgow. IPCC reports prepare “comprehensive assessment reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change” and have input from experts within any given particular field, so it’s a surprise that they haven’t been treated as key documents in discussions.
However, as the guest post notes, the scientific evidence from the IPCC was fully acknowledged at COP26, with written confirmation about how key elements will be addressed. This is, at least, a better outcome than the previous, and authors of the IPCC are hopeful that if the right words are there, then the right actions will follow.
Finishing with something a little different, we thought we’d take a look at the winners announced at COP26 of the Digital4ArtClimate competition. The competition is a “multi-faceted crypto climate initiative” where artists create nonfungible token (NFT) work focusing on climate change.
If like us, you need a refresher on what an NFT is, then this little guide was pretty clear at explaining it. Essentially, it’s something that’s unique and cannot be replaced, is part of a blockchain, and becoming very popular in the digital art world.
The top 30 finalists were showcased on the Digital4ArtClimate website, and they are well worth a look, with some really stunning images that pack a real punch too. There were also entries from some very young artists too, reminding us that young people are so very aware of the issues we face and need ways of expressing their fears and concerns.
Despite stiff competition, Filipino visual artist Bricx Martillo Dumas was awarded first place for his striking image known as “Nexus.”