WW0 x COP26: Daily Dispatch #11

WW0 x COP26: Daily Dispatch #11

GLASGOW, Nov. 14 -- Friday was the final day of the many events inside the Blue Zone, and as COP26 wound down, the deadline loomed for delegates to reach agreement on a final communique. Just as in Paris, the negotiations entered into overtime. For the past two weeks, diplomats have worked towards consensus on mobilizing climate finance, agreeing upon "loss and damage" terms, scaling up adaptation, and finalizing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (also known as the "Paris Rulebook"). Yet with many details to resolve, negotiations in Glasgow ended up going around the clock, into overtime.

During Friday morning's People's Plenary, civil society leaders, Indigenous youths, and farmers criticized governments who have not done enough during COP26 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Speakers called for countries to do their fair share to reach zero emissions by 2030 and raise the $100 billion in climate finance previously agreed upon. Those who addressed the People's Plenary called on world leaders to incorporate a just transition for workers into their climate plans, and demanded increased recognition and support of Indigenous land defenders, who are -- according to a representative of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), "risking their lives to protect what everyone is pretending to care about here. We need your support because that's where the real fight is."

After the People's Plenary, hundreds of delegates walked out of COP26 singing "Power to the People" and chanting "we are unstoppable, another world is possible." In a demonstration outside of the venue, delegates joined activists demanding that negotiators commit to climate action and protested the watered-down language regarding the need to phase out fossil fuels in the conference text, as Indigenous peoples' organizations called to "denounce colonialism, the root of the climate crisis."

On Friday afternoon, diplomats gathered in the plenary hall for an informal stocktake. Ministers made statements supporting or dissenting parts of the draft text proposed by COP26 president Alok Sharma. Delegates from the most climate-vulnerable countries delivered impassioned messages, reminding those in the room that achieving the 1.5 degree goal is a matter of life and death. "This will be the decade that determines the rest of human history...fossil fuel subsidies are paying for our own destruction," said Tina Stege, Marshall Islands Climate Envoy, an island nation that is existentially threatened by sea-level rise.

Both inside and outside of negotiation rooms, nature played a major role at COP26. Forests, the oceans, and the cryosphere -- all of which help mitigate climate change while also helping communities adapt to it were included in the draft COP26 decision text, and were highlighted at events and pavilions. Nature-based solutions to climate change were spotlighted as opportunities to protect biodiversity and safeguard Indigenous rights while ensuring that communities are more resilient to the effects of climate change.

The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 30, 2021.

Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft: Climate Chaos - Confronting the Real Existential Threat, November 4, 2021.