The COP26 deal struck in Glasgow on Saturday evening will “keep 1.5 alive”, in reference to the international commitment by 197 countries to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C.

Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said the consensus was that, while the deal was not perfect, it struck a necessary balance between increasing climate ambition and supporting climate justice for the developing world.

He summarised the COP26 actions:

  • An ambitious work programme to cut emissions this decade, and to keep global average temperature rise below 1.5°C.
  • Countries urged to announce revised 2030 commitments next year.
  • Renewed commitment to increase climate finance to achieve the €100bn goal per annum, and a doubling of adaptation finance to support developing countries.
  • Closing out the outstanding matters of the Paris Rulebook, including agreeing a new carbon market mechanism (Article 6).
  • New provisions to address fossil fuel subsidies and unabated coal, which however do not go as far as a phase-out.
  • Establishing the Santiago Network to provide technical assistance to support developing countries on loss and damage caused through climate change.
  • Providing for a future dialogue to discuss funding arrangements to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.
  • Speaking from Glasgow, Minister Ryan said: “What the world has done today is to keep 1.5 alive, recommitting to keep the global temperature increase at a level that is liveable for humanity.

    “We can only do that by delivering, including keeping our promises in Ireland to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half this decade and to reach net zero by 2050.

    “However, it is deeply disappointing that the proposal to phase out unabated coal and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies has been watered down as part of the compromise needed to agree a deal.”

    Ireland has pledged to:

  • Sign up for the High Ambition Coalition (HAC), to support global efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C.
  • Commit at least €10m (through the Adaptation Fund Contributor Dialogue), between now and the end of 2022 for the Climate Adaptation Fund.
  • Join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), to lead the transition away from global oil and gas production.
  • Participate in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Ministerial, to accelerate action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Empower citizens to be involved in a transition that is fair, equal and just.
  • Minister Ryan also launched a new National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA) from COP26. This event saw the announcement of €60m from the Climate Action Fund, to be invested in community climate action projects and initiatives over the next three years.

    Political will

    UN secretary general António Guterres described the approved COP26 deal as “a compromise”.

    “They reflect the interests, the conditions, the contradictions and the state of political will in the world today,” he said.

    “They take important steps, but unfortunately the collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions.

    “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe. It is time to go into emergency mode — or our chance of reaching net zero will itself be zero,” he warned.

    “I reaffirm my conviction that we must end fossil fuels subsidies. Phase out coal. Put a price on carbon. Build resilience of vulnerable communities against the here and now impacts of climate change. And make good on the $100bn climate finance commitment to support developing countries.

    “We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress.

    “Commitments to end deforestation. To drastically reduce methane emissions. To mobilise private finance around net zero.”