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Looking to Glasgow: A scene-setter ahead of COP26

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Written by Liselotte Jensen.

Adopted in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has gathered the nations of the world with the common goal to limit dangerous global warming. In December 2021, after having been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus crisis, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP26) to continue negotiations on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underscores the of role human activities in causing global warming. The UNFCCC-commissioned IPCC special report on impacts of global warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5) also outlines the risks of current trajectories. There is therefore strong pressure on world leaders to deliver progress in Glasgow.

Parties to the Paris Agreement were required to update their nationally determined contributions to fight climate change and its impacts before COP26. Some Parties are yet to do so, while analysis of submitted contributions as of July 2021, shows action to reach the agreed targets remains insufficient. Most key emitting nations continue to rate poorly on their climate action performance.

While COP24 and COP25 both failed to finalise the Paris Agreement rulebook, and developed nations so far fall short of fulfilling their climate finance promises, expectations are mounting for Glasgow to finish the job. At the same time, Covid‑19 restrictions and impacts continue to create challenges to participate in person, especially for developing countries’ delegations.

Recent Eurobarometer surveys show citizens have a clear expectation that their governments should handle the climate change challenge, with research also pointing to a growing acceptance of the need to change personal habits in view of transitioning to more sustainable economies.

The European Parliament will vote on a motion for a resolution on COP26 at the October II plenary session in Strasbourg. The draft highlights the urgency of action and calls upon leaders to ensure a just transition and adequate support for areas and states vulnerable to climate change impacts.


Read this briefing on ‘Looking to Glasgow: A scene-setter ahead of COP26‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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