The effectiveness of COP26

Was COP26 a turning point for the planet?

Energy transition Climate action

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November 2021, brought together key representatives of states and energy leaders to agree on measures to curb rising global temperatures. However, emissions of polluting gases have continued to rise in recent years. Against this backdrop, the participants in this debate wondered: Would COP 26 have any serious contribution to make in the fight against climate change?


Debate on the contribution that COP 26 will make to the fight against climate change, conducted in October 2021 by Intelligence Squared. Audio in English.

Will COP26 will make any serious contribution in the fight against climate change?

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Journalist Kamal Ahmed moderated this meeting between the CEO of Scottish Power, Iberdrola's UK subsidiary, Keith Anderson, and Professor of Economic Policy at Oxford University, Dieter Yelmo, to debate whether the measures taken during COP26 would have any serious contribution to make in the fight against climate change. The debate took place on 29 October 2021, before the start of the summit.

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The main objective of COP 26 in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November was to reach agreements on net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the 21st century, with intermediate targets for 2030. On the other hand, if the world's leaders and heads of state fail to achieve this, the effects of rising global temperatures may become irreversible, as many scientists warn.

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The chances of success, however, are not encouraging. Despite having held climate summits every year since 1995 (with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic) and all the hype around the 2011 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to rise, even during the year of the pandemic.

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Given the urgency of moving towards a carbon-neutral economy, can the largest producers of greenhouse gases, such as China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan, be persuaded to sign legally binding agreements on their emissions?

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Furthermore, will the voices of the people of the Global South, those living in developing countries, who are already feeling the effects of the climate crisis, be heard? And regarding the UN's position in this struggle, is its top-down approach really the best way to address the threat facing the world today?

Source: Intelligence Squared