Make use of the Glasgow Pact for the Climate!

Some decided already a week ago that COP26 was nothing but blah blah blah. Others spend their time trying to figure out who to blame for the fact that the agreement was not sharper. How we use the Glasgow Pact to best serve the climate, can perhaps be a more constructive approach. Here are five main entries if you wish to accelerate the fight against climate change!  

  1. Reduce the emissions faster. Paragraph 22 of the Pact establishes that the global emissions must be reduced by 45 percent until 2030 and reach net zero around year 2050. The following paragraph establishes, in line with the Paris Agreement, that this shall happen based on the different national conditions. Besides, all countries are requested to strengthen their NDC:s (nationally determined contributions) by the end of next year. In other words, for Sweden as a country, our municipalities, regions, businesses and households, the reduction must happen significantly faster; it is clearly stated that our goals need to be sharpened!
  2. Take greater responsibility for climate adaptation. The ninth paragraph establishes that states shall “integrate adaption further in local, national and regional planning”. In Sweden, to date, very limited national funds have been allocated to adaptation, and mainly on a municipality level. The Glasgow agreement, supported by Sweden, determines that this must change – to benefit all municipalities and households that risk being affected by flooding, the forestry that is threatened by fires, pests and diseases, the export industry whose supply chains are threatened and many others – their individual responsibility remains, but the obligations of the state are strengthened. 
  3. Abolish subsidies. For the first time in a COP final statement, it is determined that ineffective subsidies to fossil energy will be phased down – an odd expression that became the compromise since “phased out” was too strong a wording for some countries. Even Sweden has these kinds of subsidies, for example for fossil fuels, shipping, agriculture and military activities – so plan for these to be removed and you are better secured for the future!
  4. Finance emission reductions abroad. The biggest achievement in Glasgow might have been that the rulebook for the Paris Agreement was finished, including article 6 about how countries and businesses can implement parts of their emission reductions in developing countries. Sweden’s climate goal, supported by seven of our parliamentary parties, is to reach net zero by 2045, with 85% reduced domestic emissions and 15% abroad, and many companies and organizations should have similar goals. If the last percentages are achieved in the right way, it can accelerate poor countries’ readjustment, contribute to fighting poverty and other sustainable development goals. Then there is no reason to wait for the final sprint – use the new mechanism as soon as possible to reduce emissions at home and abroad! 
  5. Realize the agreements. Outside of the formal negotiations, leading countries, cities and companies agreed to quickly reduce the emissions of methane, to stop deforestation, to speed up the shift to electric cars and many other things that are not only good for the climate, but also have clear side benefits. This is where we all have the opportunity to put pressure on our governments to follow up on these commitments, and to live up to them ourselves.  

COP26 did not save the climate, because this can’t be done by a conference. But the climate meeting in Glasgow gave us new tools to work together to prevent a climate catastrophe. Let us together do everything within our power to create a better future!  

Mattias Goldmann 

Climate doer, CEO Goldmann Green, Author of Klimatsynda!