GLASGOW, Oct 31 (Reuters) – The United Nations COP26 summit that starts in Glasgow this week has been billed as a make-or-break chance to save the planet from the most calamitous effects of climate change.
Delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the limit scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences.
“We need to come out of Glasgow saying with credibility that we have kept 1.5 alive,” Alok Sharma, COP26’s president, said on Sunday as delegates began arriving in the Scottish city.
“We’re already at global warming at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” he told Sky News television. “At 1.5 there are countries in the world that will be underwater, and that’s why we need to get an agreement here on how we tackle climate change over the next decade.”
Meeting the 1.5 C goal, agreed in Paris to much fanfare in 2015, will require a surge in political momentum and diplomatic heavy-lifting to make up for the insufficient action and empty pledges that have characterised much of global climate politics.