Scientists attending Cop26 have sent a clear warning to policymakers: get a move on, because every moment of delay, every extra fraction of a degree of global heating will have dire consequences.
That message has been reinforced at Glasgow with reports, forums and discussions, but those involved in channelling the science to the world’s leaders are frustrated that words are still not being matched by actions.
Peter Stott, a climate scientist at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre who has been attending Cops since 1998, said he was marginally more optimistic than he had been before the Glasgow summit. “I have mixed emotions. I feel relieved that things have started to move, but I am concerned about the speed,” he said. “The scientific message we have talked about for 25 years is being acted on. That is a vindication. We might be starting to turn the corner. But I feel a strong sense of anxiety I haven’t felt before. I want to see the policymakers get a move on. In the next two years we have got to cut emissions rapidly.”
Countries are currently expected to return with better pledges in 2025, but many are now demanding the deadline should be brought forward. This is seen as the most closely fought area of disagreement as the UK hosts struggle to broker a deal.
“If that [five years] is the first time that countries are called to increase their ambitions, honestly that’s going to be too late,” said Figueres, founding partner of the Global Optimism thinktank.
A COP26 declaration to cut aviation emissions is “full of scams”, environmental campaigners have warned.
The International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition agreed to support measures to reduce the sector’s carbon emissions.
These included promoting the development of low-carbon aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels and carbon offsetting. It was signed by 20 countries including the UK, the US, France and Spain.
But Greenpeace is calling on European leaders not to support it, and urged them to ban short-haul flights and “massively invest” in rail instead.
CREATING universal and comprehensive public transport is the only way to effectively cut carbon emissions from travel at home and abroad, unions and campaigners have said during Cop26.
Campaigners and politicians condemned the lack of consideration of rail, bus, ferry and cycle transport during proceedings at the summit today, where the focus was put on cars and planes instead.
Officials and delegates at the gathering in Glasgow made a number of announcements on transport, including on zero-emissions vehicles, so-called green shipping corridors, and on decarbonising air travel.
Tory Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that travel, including aviation, should be “guilt-free.” He also said that the government did not see flying as “the ultimate evil,” after officials, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were condemned for using planes for short journeys during Cop26.