Was COP26 just a load of “blah, blah, blah” as Greta Thunberg put it? At a recent webinar hosted by Climate Interactive their director Andrew Jones reviewed the pledges made at COP26 and used the En-ROADS simulator to visualise their potential impact. As you can see from the image below the pledges to start phasing out coal, stop deforestation, electrify our transport system and reduce methane emissions could make a difference; significantly flattening the greenhouse gas emissions curve and potentially limiting warming to +3°C by 02100.
From this analysis it is clear that we need to push much harder to achieve the changes that can keep the goal of +1.5°C alive. Even if we flatten the emissions curve the overall level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to rise.
What we need to do is take actions that will decrease emissions to half the current level by 02030. This is theoretically still possible if we curb fossil fuel use and methane emissions, work hard to improve energy efficiency and invest in carbon sequestration technologies. These actions are increasingly urgent and more significant commitments will be required at COP27 next year if we are to succeed.
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If you want to dig deeper and gain a wider perspective on what different people and organisations thought about the outcomes from COP26 here are some links which you may find useful.