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Deal Reached at Climate Summit Where Carbon Footprint is Double What It Was in 2019

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Earlier on Saturday, the nations gathered for the COP26 climate summit reached a deal. This comes after live updated reporting from The New York Times included a headline that noted "Negotiations Stretch Into the Night," and went on to point out that there had been "[a]nxious energy." A separate piece, "Here’s What Happened on the Final Day of the COP26 Climate Talks," noted that while "a major agreement" was reached," it "also left crucial questions unresolved."


The deal, as the later piece from the New York Times explained:

GLASGOW — With the bang of a gavel, diplomats from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a major agreement aimed at intensifying efforts to fight climate change, by calling on governments to return next year with stronger plans to curb their planet-warming emissions and urging wealthy nations to “at least double” funding by 2025 to protect the most vulnerable nations from the hazards of a hotter planet.


But the agreement established a clear consensus that all nations need to do much more, immediately, to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. It outlined specific steps the world should take, from slashing global carbon dioxide emissions nearly in half by 2030 to curbing methane, another potent greenhouse gas. And it sets up new rules to hold countries accountable for the progress they make — or fail to make.

Another section pointed out that "Leaders vowed over a decade ago to give poor countries $100 billion a year. It still hasn’t happened."

Other outlets highlighted discontent with the deal. 

In their headline for the Washington Post, Brady Dennis and Sarah Kaplan wrote that "At COP26, nations speed climate action but leave world still headed for dangerous warming."


The particularly long and anxiety-inducing article early on laments that:

Saturday’s agreement, however, does not achieve the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris accord — to limit Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. Instead, delegations left Glasgow with the Earth still on track to blow past that threshold, pushing toward a future of escalating weather crises and irreversible damage to the natural world.

And representatives from hard-hit nations feared that the deal still leaves their people facing an existential threat.

The piece coming in at over 2,300 words--which takes 12 minutes to listen to--is chock full of panicking from climate activists, young and old. These are just a few examples:

Anything short of that will consign future generations to untold suffering, the European Union’s top climate official, Frans Timmermans, told delegates in the waning hours of the summit. Timmermans said he had been pondering what life will be like in 2050 for his 1-year-old grandson.

“If we succeed, he’ll be living in a world that’s livable,” he said. “If we fail — and I mean fail now in the next couple years — he will fight with other human beings for water and food. That’s the stark reality we face.”


No sooner had the final gavel fallen in Glasgow than activists began picking apart the summit’s failings, calling the pact little more than a parade of empty promises.

“I’m tired, I’m frustrated … but I am not surprised,” said 20-year-old Nicki Becker, a Fridays for Future activist from Argentina who said the pact didn’t do enough to protect those in at-risk countries like hers. “We always hear young people are the future. But they burn our present. They sell our present. They pollute our present.”


Greta Thunberg isn't included in the piece, but she did tweet about the summit and boy is she less than thrilled.

What planners for the next summit should keep in mind most of all, perhaps, is the carbon footprint involved in this exercise. The live update reporting from the New York Times shared that "[t]he carbon footprint of this year’s United Nations climate summit is expected to be double that of the previous conference in 2019, according to a report produced for the British government."

If countries are expected to come back and try harder next time, one can just imagine what their carbon footprint will be then.


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