COP26 took steps forward – but we need to start running to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive

The European Greens welcome the progress made at the UN Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow. Improved emission commitments from some countries, new international initiatives on phasing out oil and gas production as well as finalising the Paris Agreement rulebook bring the world a couple of desperately needed steps closer to tackling the climate crisis.    

However, the time is running out. Rather than taking a couple of steps in the right direction, we need to start running.    

The commitments and initiatives announced in Glasgow would – if fully implemented – allow the world to limit global heating to below two degrees. This is much better than the around three degrees that was still in the cards relatively recently. However, even close to two degrees would still entail unacceptable destruction of lives and ecosystems, especially in the most vulnerable communities in the Global South.    

After COP26, the world needs to redouble efforts to tackle the climate crisis. All countries must align their emission commitments with limiting global heating to 1.5C. Wealthy countries must ramp up international climate finance to help poor countries limit emissions, adapt to climate impacts, and compensate for loss and damage.    

The EU and European countries must now show real climate leadership. This means upgrading the 2030 emission target to -65% and reaching climate neutrality in 2040; presenting a plan to phase out fossil fuels, most urgently coal; increasing international climate finance; and working closely together with countries in the Global South to build alliances.    

The European Greens acknowledge that the progress in Glasgow would not have been possible without the tireless work of thousands of activists and concerned citizens, led by the youth. Only by continuing to mobilise and keeping up the pressure on government and business leaders can we ever have a chance of succeeding in tackling the climate crisis.      

Evelyne Huytebroeck, co-chair of the European Green Party comments:    

“Climate justice remains vastly forgotten. The high expectations from developing countries for loss and damages to be fully recognized were not matched in the final agreement. But the fight is not over. As Greens, we will herald this fight for climate justice at the European level but also through our Greens in government across Europe.”    

Thomas Waitz, co-chair of the European Green Party and MEP adds:    

“Despite omnipresent greenwashing and intense lobbying from the fossil fuel industry, finally an international treaty clearly names fossil fuels as the problem. However, it is unacceptable that several countries including China, India, and Iran watered down the final text at the last minute to avoid firm commitments on coal phase out.    

As Greens we will continue supporting the momentum for rapid fossil fuel phase out. Ambitious coalitions like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance or the Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation movement should be actively supported.”  

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