The Guardian view on the Cop26 agreement: unfinished business | Editorial

The Guardian view on the Cop26 agreement: unfinished business | Editorial

The best thing about the Glasgow agreement is the chance it offers for tougher emissions cuts next year

The anti-global heating movement is not strong enough. With last year’s defeat of Donald Trump, its enemies lost their most powerful figurehead. But the governments of Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to obstruct progress and at Cop26, yet again, they and the other backers of the fossil fuel-powered status quo outgunned supporters of the immediate decarbonisation that is needed, if the goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C is to stay within reach. Now the Glasgow conference is over, the most important question for all those seeking to avoid and reduce climate harms is how to speed up the transition.

Ramping up the pressure on polluters – both nations and companies – is the obvious answer. Questions surrounding tactics remain fraught, as the recent debate over protests by Insulate Britain illustrates. But there is no question that civil society has a vital role to play. If people, in a few years’ time, are to look back on Cop26 as a success, it will be because the Glasgow agreement created the mechanism whereby countries must revisit their emissions-cutting pledges every year, and the political conditions changed sufficiently to ensure that existing promises were strengthened.

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