Climate Action from Glasgow to Geneva | UN Climate Change Conference COP26
COP26 Adopts Glasgow Climate Pact
Heads of state, negotiators, experts, and campaigners gathered in Glasgow at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) for the most consequential climate conference since the Paris Agreement. As the leading climate science body laid out in stark terms, the world is ‘dangerously close’ to running out of time to stop a climate change catastrophe.
After two weeks of intense negotiations, the UN Climate Change Conference concluded Saturday 13 November, adopting the Glasgow Climate Pact as outcome document that, according to the UN Secretary-General, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today”.
Access the live coverage of the conference through the Earth Negotiation Bulletin and UN News special coverage, and additional resources on the outcomes:
- Outcomes of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference – Advance Unedited Versions (AUVs) | UNFCCC
- COP26 Reaches Consensus on Key Actions to Address Climate Change | UNFCCC | 13 November 2021
- COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief | UN News | 13 November 2021
- COP26: Rich nations betray vulnerable people of the world | Climate Action Network International | 13 November 2021
Climate Action from Glasgow to Geneva
While all eyes were focused on Glasgow, Geneva continues to remain active in support of climate science and action.
- From 1 to 12 November, the Geneva Cryosphere Hub fostered dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, international organizations and civil society around the topic of glaciers and mountains.
- With activities in Glasgow and Geneva, the Hub showcased the latest science on the cryosphere and support climate ambition, having started with a round table on 1 November discussing “A world without glaciers – How can scientists contribute to enhancing climate ambition, in Switzerland and beyond?“.
- On Monday 8 November, the hybrid webinar “A fragile future: can mountain communities adapt to climate change?” discussed how climate change threatens the vast high latitude and high altitude cold regions of the world that provide freshwater to over half of humanity.
- On Friday 12 November, a webinar co-organized by the Geneva Environment Network explored the interlinkages between Glasgow and Geneva, towards “Leveraging Glasgow’s ambition in Geneva’s multilateral processes“. At this event, leading diplomats and experts addressed the biodiversity, human rights, trade, world of work, science and civil society agendas.
- From 3 to 12 November, “All United for Earth, from Geneva to Glasgow for COP26” – a joint initiative of UNDP, UN Geneva, the City of Geneva and its Natural History Museum, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland, the Canton of Geneva and the local authorities of Greater Geneva aimed at making the residents of Geneva more aware of the issues and solutions relating to climate change and biodiversity loss. A special night discovery tour from the Palais des Nations to the museum also took place.
- Other activities in support to the UN Climate Conference included a Ciné-ONU film screening of “Breaking Boundaries: The Science of our Planet“, on 4 November.
- Following ambitious commitments made at COP26, a briefing and discussion, “Future-Proofing Supply of Critical Minerals for Net Zero: Cross-Sectoral Perspectives“, will feature leading specialists on how to secure a resilient, sustainable supply of critical minerals for the transition to a net zero economy. This event organized by the UK Mission in Geneva and UNECE will be held in a hybrid format in Tempus 1, Palais des Nations and online on 23 November, 15:00-17:00 CET
Issued before and during COP26, publications bringing additional evidence to support the need to act with urgency and ambition include:
- Adaptation Gap Report 2021 | UNEP | 1 November 2021
The report finds that there is an urgent need to step up climate adaptation finance. Estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows, and the adaptation finance gap is widening.
- COP26: 10 New Insights in Climate Science and Global Carbon Budget | WMO | 4 November 2021
The 10 Insights in Climate Science report is based on an assessment made by more than 60 world-leading academic experts, with a scoping process that reaches several thousands of scientists working on fields related to climate change. The Global Carbon Budget highlight that the global carbon emissions in 2021 are set to rebound close to pre-Covid levels.
- Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation | UNEP & IUCN | 5 November 2021
Analysing scientific literature, the report finds that Nature-based Solutions (NbS) can deliver emission reductions and removals of at least 5 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030, and at least 10 gigatons by 2050 on a conservative basis.
- WTO issues information briefs on trade, climate, related issues with COP26 talks underway | WTO | 3 November 2021
The point is that we know what we need to do. We know how to do it. We know the timeframe in which we need to act. We know the benefits of action, and the consequences of inaction. The case for climate action is, essentially, closed. ― Inger Andersen, 26 October 2021
- UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2021 | UNEP | 26 October 2021
As countries are expected to present their plans for climate mitigation and adaptation, many call for higher ambition and urgent net zero commitment. The report revealed that the latest climate pledges for 2030 put the world on track for a temperature rise this century of at least 2.7°C, way above the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
- Provisional WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 | WMO | 31 October 2021
Record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated accumulated heat have propelled the planet into uncharted territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations.
- Real ambition vs. false solutions: What’s at stake during COP26? | Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung | Sebastien Duyck, Erika Lennon, Francesca Mingrone, Nikki Reisch and Lien Vandamme | 27 October 2021
COP26 takes place against the backdrop of nationalist health policies with daunting consequences, failed promises to adequately scale up climate action and financial support, and an unprecedented push for false solutions that divert global attention from the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels.
- Blue Carbon Ecosystems, Peatlands and Climate Change | Scientific and Technical Review Panel | Ramsar Convention on Wetlands | 27 October 2021
The Convention on Wetlands has launched new publications that provide policy recommendations for managing peatlands and blue carbon ecosystems to mitigate climate change; best practices on wise use and restoration of peatland ecosystems; and information on extent and carbon storage capabilities of blue carbon ecosystems in Wetlands of International Importance.
- Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: Another Year Another Record | WMO | 25 October 2021
The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year, with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average. That trend has continued in 2021, according to the latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
- UN Human Rights Environment & Climate Change Newsletter – UNFCCC COP26 Special Edition | OHCHR | 28 October 2021
The Office of the High Commission on Human Rights will actively engage at COP26 to promote a human rights-based approach to climate ambition, stakeholders and public participation, loss and damage, and climate finance.
- Over 1,000 universities and colleges make net-zero pledges as new nature initiative is unveiled | UNEP | 28 October 2021
Higher education institutions are joining the call for climate action ahead of COP26. More than 1,000 universities from 68 countries – including the University of Geneva – joined the UN initiative “Race to Zero”, committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and transform their impact on nature.
- The Production Gap | SEI, IISD, ODI, E3G, UNEP | 21 October 2021
Governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than what would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in stark contrast to increased climate ambitions and net-zero commitments.
- Renewable energy jobs have reached 12 million globally | ILO & IRENA | 21 October 2021
Ahead of COP26, this report underscores the jobs potential of an ambitious climate strategy and calls for comprehensive policies in support of a just transition to a greener future.
- The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 | WMO | 19 October 2021
Changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and more extreme weather contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa in 2020, compounding the socio-economic and health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction | UNEP | 19 October 2021
The report tracks the buildings and construction sector progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement goals, based on key indicators for energy use, emissions, technologies, policies, and investments globally.
Preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference
As a global hub for environmental policy and the center for multilateralism, with climate as one of the core thematics addressed by all organizations, Geneva actively participated in building momentum for UNFCCC COP26. Last 21 October, the preparatory briefing organized by the Geneva Environment Network and the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom highlighted the important role that Geneva actors can play ahead, during, and after COP26 →
Geneva is the implementing arm of this climate effort. Each and every head of a UN organization or other international organizations I meet in Geneva talks about climate as probably the biggest issue they face whether in terms of trade, health, migration or refugees. We are working together here in Geneva for a successful COP and can play a crucial role in ensuring that we deliver on what we agree in Glasgow. The task is ahead for us and we look forward to seizing it and making success of it.
H.E. Amb. Simon Manley, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom
Events in preparations for the conference included:
- From Risk to Resilience: Accelerating Adaptation Action at COP26 | Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom & UNDRR | 25 October, 16.00 CEST | Online & WMO
- Children Uprooted in a Changing Climate – Turning challenges into opportunities with and for young people on the move | UNICEF & IOM | 27 October, 15.30 CEST | Online
Other Relevant Resources
- What International Geneva wants from Glasgow | Geneva Solutions | 31 October 2021
- Over 700 Civil Society Groups Demand Real Climate Solutions, Not Net-Zero Promises | Global Call for Real Solutions | 1 November 2021
- WWF welcomes pledges to protect and restore forests and increase financing; urges action and rapid implementation | WWF | 2 November 2021
- From Glasgow to Geneva: reflections on Cop26 so far | Geneva Solutions | 3 November 2021
- UN Unveils New Finance Mechanism to Boost Climate Action | WMO, UNDP & UNEP | 3 November 2021
- ILO welcomes COP26 Just Transition Declaration | ILO | 5 November 2021
- UN Special Rapporteur concerned by no mention of human rights in COP26 work programme on public participation in climate action | PBI | 7 November 2021
- At COP26, A Failure of Vision, Action, Equity and Urgency | CIEL | 13 November 2021
- A disappointing COP26 closure, but keeps a narrow window open for 1.5°C | WWF | 13 November 2021
- The Road after Glasgow | Joëlle NOAILLY | The Graduate Institute, Geneva | 12 November 2021
- HRC48 Side Event | Addressing the Adverse Impact of Climate Change on the Full and Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights | 15 September 2021
- IUCN at COP26
- Ramsar Convention on Wetlands at COP26
- WMO at COP26
- GEO at COP26
- WBCSD at COP26
- We Mean Business Coalition at COP26