The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

World leaders reach climate agreement at U.N. summit following two weeks of negotiations

Britain's President for COP26 Alok Sharma speaks at a news conference at the close of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 13, 2021. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
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GLASGOW, Scotland — Following two weeks of high-profile negotiations for urgent climate action, world leaders have come to an agreement at COP26. The deal pushes countries to strengthen near-term climate targets and move away from fossil fuels faster, however, it does not offer the transformative breakthrough scientists say must happen to avoid the most dire effects of global warming.

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Here’s what to know

  • Saturday’s agreement 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 toward a future of escalating weather crises and irreversible damage to the natural world.
  • In last-minute changes, India’s climate negotiator Bhupender Yadav proposed that language calling for the “phaseout of unabated coal and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” be changed to the “phase-down.”
  • During an informal plenary, leaders from countries on the front lines of climate change noted the proposed deal does not do enough to help them. But at the end of two weeks of negotiations, most countries said the deal would at least put humanity on a path to meeting its collective goals.
  • Climate activists held a “funeral” for COP26 at a Glasgow cemetery Saturday morning. Many activists who came in for the summit have left. About 100,000 people marched in a climate justice rally last weekend.