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After two weeks, and some extended time, world leaders at COP26 concluded on an agreement. Working throughout the night, countries negotiated on pledges and proposals that aim to limit climate warming to just 1.5°C.

The final document, named the Glasgow Climate Pact, contained eleven pages of pledges that were agreed to over the fortnight. And this included a commitment, from 196 countries, to issue stronger plans to cut significant emissions by 2030.

So, what can we take away from this year’s climate conference?

Cutting emissions

The final document explained that emissions must fall by 45% from 2010 levels, by 2030, to cap temperature rises at 1.5°C. Existing emissions reduction pledges would see a rise of nearly 14% by 2030, as compared to 2010. This rise could prove fatal to huge numbers of communities, cities and whole countries.

While many countries initially pledged to reach net zero targets by 2050, it has become clear that this goal must be brought forward considerably. Green tech, sustainable infrastructure and reduced transport emissions are just some of the ways that countries can accelerate their way to net zero.

Loss and damage

One of the biggest issues tackled at COP26 was climate finance. Developing countries continue to bear the brunt of climate change, while emitting the least carbon dioxide. Cities, communities and whole countries are being demolished by extreme weather abnormalities such as forest fires, hurricanes and flash floods.

Establishing and distributing climate finance is the first step in getting these developing countries ready for the changing climate.

The final document also promised an increased investment of $500 billion, over the next five years for developing countries. This funding will help them adapt to the severe effects of climate change. The deal also included commitments from several countries to stop deforestation by 2030. This commitment was also pledged by Brazil, home of the Amazon rainforest.

The coal problem

Coal was a hot topic throughout COP26. A proposed “phasing down” of coal has sparked disappointment among countries and world leaders. This watered down language does not adequately represent the sense of urgency surrounding the issue of fossil fuels and coal.

However, more than 40 countries have pledged to make the move away from coal. This includes some countries that rely heavily on coal, such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile. The signatories agreed to end all investment in new coal power generation, both domestically and internationally.

Several major banks have also agreed to stop financing the coal industry. While this is a significant step in the right direction, some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries have not signed the pledge – including Australia, India, China and the US. Developing countries were left to feel even more vulnerable. By refusing to take urgent action on emission-heavy fuels such as coal, developing countries may face an accelerated loss of homes, livelihoods, land and infrastructure.

How can Monarch help?

Now is the time for change. If it wasn’t already clear, COP26 has further highlighted the need for serious adaptation, mitigation and amendment. If we are to be within any hope of protecting the Earth for generations to come, we need imminent change.

At Monarch, we understand the urgency around sustainability. Our broad range of comprehensive services and expert team means that we can advise you on the best options for your business.

Get in touch to find out how Monarch can help you to future-proof your business.

Sophie Wyatt

Author Sophie Wyatt

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