COP26: 1.5-degree target ‘on life support’ with ‘hollowed-out’ agreement
Photo: Mídia NINJA

COP26: 1.5-degree target ‘on life support’ with ‘hollowed-out’ agreement

Date: 13 November 2021

  • Next COP must be “a reckoning” for rich countries and fossil fuel companies, campaigners say
  • Pledges “hang by a thread” because of failure to look at the global trade system

Reacting to the final COP26 agreement, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:

“In the last fortnight, the climate justice movement that came out in force in Glasgow and around the world became mainstream. We showed that you can’t tackle climate change without a radical transformation of the global economy and reparations from those who fuelled climate change to those facing its worst impacts. But this hollowed-out agreement shows that, for all the lip service they paid, world leaders and big business have not listened. 

“From the very start, the UK presidency set this summit up for failure. A sanitised COP, captured by corporate interests and inaccessible to the global south, was never going to adequately or equitably respond to the climate crisis. 

“Despite pledging to make ‘cash’ one of its key priorities, the British government has refused to stump up its fair share of climate finance, failed to push rich allies to achieve the inadequate target of $100 billion, and colluded to block proposals for loss and damage compensation for climate-vulnerable countries. Island and coastal communities are drowning – and we’ve simply averted our eyes.

“What little progress there has been, like pledges to phase out coal, hang by a thread because the UNFCCC refuses to look at how the global trade system reinforces the fossil fuel economy. As soon as countries start enacting these pledges, fossil fuel companies can sue for huge sums under trade agreements like the Energy Charter Treaty.

“This agreement would have been an important document 20 years ago, but we are well past this stage now. We don’t have time for baby steps towards climate action. 1.5 degrees may not yet be dead, but it is on life support. The next COP must be a reckoning for the fossil fuel industry and the rich countries that caused the climate crisis. Anything less will consign us to devastation.”


Notes Energy experts predict that more ambitious climate action from world leaders will significantly increase companies’ use of a tribunal mechanism built into trade deals that has already awarded billions to heavy industry, AFP revealed yesterday:

Fossil fuel companies are currently demanding at least $18bn in compensation from governments enacting climate policies, through trade agreements like the Energy Charter Treaty and NAFTA: