The Guardian view on the Cop26 draft outcome: raise the bar | Editorial

The Guardian view on the Cop26 draft outcome: raise the bar | Editorial

The credibility of international efforts to combat the climate crisis depend on the summit’s ambitions being honoured

In the staid idiom of international summitry, to “note with serious concern” is a statement of distress. To “express alarm” is verging on panic. Thus the draft text of a Cop26 negotiating outcome signals that the conference is not on track to match its ambitions, and recognises that failure will have calamitous consequences.

On the trajectory of existing commitments, carbon emissions are set to rise 13.7% by 2030. Dramatic movement in the opposite direction is needed if the goal is to limit global heating to 1.5C by the end of this century – the outcome counselled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That requires a 45% emissions cut by 2030, and net zero by mid-century. Yet a projection by the Climate Action Tracker shows that the world is heading for a rise of 2.4C above preindustrial levels, despite high-profile carbon-cutting pledges made in Glasgow. Heating on that scale would unleash extreme weather, bringing devastation across the globe: rising sea levels, drought and displaced populations.

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