13 November 2021
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COP26: 1.5C ‘Still within reach but only just’
As Glasgow’s COP26 reaches a conclusion, Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said:
“We came into Glasgow expecting actions to keep 1.5 alive, and we leave with that ambition still within reach – but only just. Much more still needs to be done, but with agreement on several key issues, including on the critical role nature can play, and with countries now required to return next year with improved plans, there is still hope.
“We’re in the middle of a climate emergency, but recent analysis of pledges by countries made to date mean we are still on track for warming above 2 degrees – a future that will be catastrophic for millions of people and for nature. Therefore, the last-minute watering down on curbing the use of coal in the final text was a major disappointment.
“So, it’s now time for world leaders to keep their climate promises. There’s no time to waste. We can no longer delay delivery on emissions cuts, only a rapid and sustained increase in real action by nations will do now.”
On Scotland’s role during COP626 and commitments made by Scottish Government, Lang Banks director of WWF Scotland said:
“Despite not having a seat at the negotiating table, the Scottish Government has championed collaboration across states and regions to increase climate action. From signing cooperation agreements with nations such as Chile and Denmark on protecting peatland and decarbonising heat, to tripling funding for climate justice, and becoming the first nation in the world to pledge finance to help countries facing loss and damage caused by climate change, Scotland has played a positive role at COP26.
“However, there is of course more to do at home. The First Minister has acknowledged that Scotland isn’t delivering against its own climate targets and fixing this will require stronger action more quickly. Climate emissions from our agriculture, home heating and transport aren’t falling nearly fast enough, despite opportunities to do so that will provide cleaner air, better health, and new green jobs. Scotland also missed the opportunity to follow the lead of nations like Wales in joining a new alliance looking to cut global oil and gas production to keep within the 1.5C global temperature goal.”
On the legacy of COP26 in Scotland, Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said:
“The job of addressing the climate crisis was never going to end when this COP was over. Given the yawning gap between climate action and ambition, we need every nation, including Scotland, to redouble their efforts, to meet all existing targets, and to look at where they can and should go further and faster.
“Specifically, in Scotland, we need to see a more rapid move to a new rural support system that delivers climate-friendly farming, support for every household to switch away from fossil fuel heating systems, and better protection of precious peat, forest and marine habitats that lock away carbon.”