The Council on Foreign Relations, a respected observer, summarizes the summit findings in an authoritative essay entitled: “What the Summit Did and Did Not Accomplish”.
Its summary: Would you consider COP26 a success? The quick response, according to the CFR, was blunt: “Yes, but barely.” The recently-concluded summit, it said, “delivered on its primary goal of keeping alive the main 2015 Paris international accord to limit global warming.”
That accord stated that worldwide, nations would limit global warming to 1.5 Centigrade (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. However, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, carbon emissions will now have to fall by 45% by 2030 to reach the goal set seven years ago.
“At the two-week-long Glasgow climate summit, there was concern that any pledges announced would fall far short in crucial areas.”
But there was modest progress in some areas:
—Passage of a communique supporting a “phase-down of unabated coal power,” termed “the single largest source of global temperature rise and a “first” for a U.N. climate agreement.”
—Latest available official statistics from 2017 say that China produced 8,000 metric tons of coal annually, the largest globally, and just over half of the worldwide total.
The PRC did agree, in Glasgow, to reduce its coal production by about 11 % (to just short of 2,900 megatons, but still by far the world’s largest).
India is the world’s second-largest coal producer at 4,000 metric tons a year, with the United States in third place. United States production decreased by nearly a quarter in 2020, according to the World Energy Outlook journal.
Globally, according to the journal, “a new energy economy is emerging, but the transformation still has a long way to go.” That seems to confirm the Council on Foreign Relation’s assessment that national pledges so far might still fall short in critical respects. Time is clearly running out.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More