1.5°C target still ‘within reach’

26th November 2021


World leaders, business groups and NGOs have said the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement is still alive, despite disappointment with the COP26 outcome.

The two-week conference concluded with countries agreeing to “revisit and strengthen” their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by the end of 2022 and report progress on emissions every two years, as well as committing to ‘phasing down’ coal use. Negotiators also agreed on carbon market rules for implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, but failed to deliver elsewhere, such as in delivering a financial assistance programme to help poorer countries deal with ‘loss and damage’ caused by the climate crisis.

Despite this, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, UK prime minister Boris Johnson and UN secretary-general António Guterres have all stated that the Paris Agreement is still alive. “COP26 is a step in the right direction,” said von der Leyen. “1.5°C remains within reach; but the work is far from done. The least we can do now is implement the promises of Glasgow as rapidly as possible and then aim higher.”

These sentiments were echoed by the business community. Eliot Whittington, director of the UK and European Corporate Leaders Groups, said the summit has generated fresh energy around the 1.5°C target. “If the range of commitments from governments, business and investors to deliver real action is reflected in and inspires more ambitious new targets next year, then we still have a chance of doing this – that is insufficient but undeniable and positive progress.”

Tanya Steele, chief executive at the World Wide Fund for Nature, said COP26 has reinforced the need for rapid, deep and ongoing emissions cuts alongside support for vulnerable countries facing climate impacts. “This summit has seen the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C become the North Star guiding us all, but a clear pathway is far from certain, and we still have a long way to go.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

Transform articles

Divestment grows in popularity following COP26

Divestment from high-emitting countries and industries has become more popular following last month's COP26 climate summit, a global survey of investors has found.

9th December 2021

Read more

Limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels is possible following COP26, but only if all new mid-century net-zero targets are delivered alongside national 2030 emissions goals.

3rd December 2021

Read more

Chris Seekings reports on a side event from the COP26 conference that explored the role of girls’ education in fighting the climate crisis

26th November 2021

Read more

The UK public has more trust in local councils to take action on climate change than it does in world leaders, according to research carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA) and published at the COP26 summit.

26th November 2021

Read more

Indigenous groups have said COP26 showed that world leaders’ interests lie with economic bottom lines, rather than tackling the climate crisis.

26th November 2021

Read more

COP26 is now over, and we’re all digesting what the deal agreed in Glasgow actually means for us, our businesses and the planet. It was my privilege to represent IEMA members at the event.

26th November 2021

Read more

IEMA's CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE attended COP26 and reflects on her experience there and shares key observations on the event and proposed outcomes.

15th November 2021

Read more

The first ever international agreement to reduce coal use was struck on the final day of COP26, with countries also reiterating their intention to deliver the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C target, and to provide more financial support for developing nations.

15th November 2021

Read more

A look at some of the key announcements made during the two-week conference in Glasgow, including reaction from around the world.

15th November 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert