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The 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact – A New Climate Deal

On 13 November 2021, after more than two weeks of negotiations, diplomats from approximately 200 nations agreed to adopt the Glasgow Climate Pact.  

The Glasgow Climate Pact is the first climate deal to explicitly request countries to reduce their reliance on coal, which is viewed as the greatest contributing factor to man-made climate change, as well as inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. However, the final wording on coal use - a "phase-down" - was a last minute concession to a bloc of developing countries represented by China and India in lieu of a much stronger commitment to "phase out" coal. The watering down of this key commitment epitomizes the eleventh hour compromises that had to be made to get the pact over the line, which is ultimately why many see it as relatively weak.

The Glasgow Climate Pact also, among other things:

  • Requests the parties accelerate development, deployment, and dissemination of technologies and polices that will aid in the transition towards low-emission energy systems;
  • Invites the parties to consider taking additional actions to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030;
  • Urges the parties to collectively reduce emissions through accelerated action and implementation of domestic mitigation measures;
  • Urges the developed country parties to at least double their provision of climate finance to support adaptation in developing country parties;
  • Urges the parties to engage youth participation and representation in a meaningful ways in the multilateral, national, and local decision-making processes;
  • Encourages the parties to increase the meaningful and equal participation of women in climate action and ensure gender-responsive implementation; and
  • Emphasizes the need to mobilize climate finance from all sources in order to reach the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.

While the Glasgow Climate Pact is a significant step on the path to a cleaner energy future, it has been criticized for failing to take adequate action to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius.  Only time will tell how instrumental the Glasgow Climate Pact will be in reducing emissions and producing a cleaner energy future.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases. The deal also presses for more urgent emission cuts and promises more money for developing countries - to help them adapt to climate impacts. But the pledges don't go far enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.

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cop26, esg

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