Glasgow Climate Pact: A success or a failure?

The biggest climate conference of the decade, COP26 hosted by the United Nations finally closed its drapes on 12th November 2021. During the course of the two weeks of the summit, numerous meetings and conferences took place with nearly 200 nations committing to the Glasgow Climate Pact aiming at achieving the set goals of the conference.


But, the concerned citizens, global climate activists and some leaders are not really satisfied with these pledges and debating over the success of the conference. The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg summarized the event as ‘Blah, blah, blah’ and said that the real work continues outside these halls. “Unless we achieve immediate, drastic, unprecedented, annual emission cuts at the source then that means we’re failing when it comes to this climate crisis. “Small steps in the right direction”, “making some progress” or “winning slowly” equals losing,” she added.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' discontent was also quite visible from the statement he shared on his Twitter. “The #COP26 outcome is a compromise, reflecting the interests, contradictions & state of political will in the world today. It's an important step, but it's not enough and it's time to go into emergency mode,” he said.

The question now arises as to why there is dissatisfaction around the globe over the commencement of the summit and people referring to it as a compromise. Despite some major advancements towards achieving climate action goals that were witnessed during COP26 and paved a way to move forward, there’s still a gap that is identifiable as far as the COP goals are concerned.

Mitigation: One of the main discussions at the conference was to boost the mitigation actions; to reduce the carbon emissions by 2030 to keep the 1.5-degree pact within reach. To achieve the same COP26 submitted some landmark pledges:

  • For the first time, nearly 200 countries agreed on “phasing down” unabated coal power
  • The Global Methane Pledge launched witnessing over 100 countries committing collectively to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
  • Over 23 countries put forward impressive national climate education pledges, ranging from decarbonising the school sector to developing school resources & putting climate at the heart of national curriculums.
  • Countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their current emissions targets to 2030, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in 2022.
  • The guidelines laid out in the Paris Rulebook were finally delivered after six years of discussions which will help in holding countries to account as they deliver on their targets.
  • Over 30 other countries including India signed a declaration to work together towards making zero-emission vehicles assecible, affordable, and sustainable by the year 2030.

The initial aim of the COP26 was to finalise the agreement on “phasing out” the coal use but at the last moment developing countries backed by India & China resisted the term and watered it down to “phasing down” of coal power & fossil fuel use. This has resulted in the extension of the climate action goals set by the member countries and further postponed the 1.5-degree pact.

Adaptation: At the Glasgow meet, developed nations were asked to contribute efficiently to help the developing countries to build an adaptive strategy in combating climate change and its adverse effects; build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.

  • Countries at the COP26 talks agreed to launch a two-year effort to define a "global goal on adaptation".
  • There was also progress toward setting a firm target for adaptation finance, which currently accounts for just a quarter of international climate finance for developing nations, garnering only $20 billion in 2019.
  • The Glasgow pact urged developed countries to "urgently and significantly scale up" their adaptation finance and to at least double it from 2019 levels by 2025.

The Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will only identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries.

The need of the hour is Adaptation finance which remained an issue of disagreement as the US and the EU had resisted doubling adaptation finance. No pledge has been made to deliver 50 percent of climate finance for adaptation. These countries need immediate funds to tackle the climate change effects and a mere discussion on the issue is not enough & justified.


As mentioned in the Paris Agreement the developed countries had to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to developing and poor nations. In the continuation of the Paris Agreement, the Glasgow summit asked these rich nations and international financial institutions to abide by their promises and fulfil the funding requirements.

  • The World Bank will commit to spending $25 billion in climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan, including a focus on agriculture and food systems.
  • The UK pledged £27.5m of new funding for the new Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP) to support cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to help them implement innovative climate action plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects to reduce emissions.
  • Member countries have also committed to a process to agree on long-term climate finance beyond 2025.

The climate summit witnessed some progress as far as climate finance is concerned but the initial target set in the Paris Agreement has been pushed ahead with developed countries now agreed to achieve the $100 billion mark by 2023. The Glasgow pact has also urged these developed nations to double the collective share of adaptation finance within the $100 billion annual target for 2021-2025.

The COP26 summit did manage to make some progress but the reality is that the conference did not live up to the expectations many had hoped for. The COP26’s success can be evaluated from a remark given during the concluding media statement by COP President, Alok Sharma.

“This is a fragile win as we have kept 1.5 alive. But I would still say that the pulse of 1.5 is weak.”


Written By:

Manvender Pratap Singh

Manvender is a passionate content creator with a journalism degree who has a knack for developing human-interest content. In the past, he was involved with a National News Channel and a video production company and has experience in writing, designing and video production.

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