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Tomorrow’s world

Cop26 hasn’t been a flop

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Glasgow. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Cop26 seems to have produced “two diametrically opposing narratives”, say Susan Joy Hassol and Michael Mann in The Boston Globe: that the first week of the summit “brought either significant progress or just more hot air”. Both are true. “We are making substantial progress, and it’s wholly insufficient to the scale of the challenge.” What has been secured so far? More than 100 nations, representing 70% of the global economy, have agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. More than 90% of the world’s forests will now be protected by climate pledges. And total warming is projected to be below 2C, rather than the 4C we were heading towards a decade ago.

Is this enough? “Of course not.” We need to make the most of the rest of the summit: so far each day’s pledges have “ratcheted down” projected global warming by a 10th of a degree. And we need to come out of Cop26 “still in the fight”. There is too much at stake for the climate movement to splinter along lines such as class, race, gender and age, or for the world to succumb to “division and nihilism”.