Last November, the international community concluded its 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. Reviews were mixed. Among its successes, COP26 concluded the Paris “rulebook,” adopted a consensus decision on next steps, and produced a series of multilateral commitments on limiting methane emissions and deforestation, strengthening climate finance, and more. A surprise joint declaration between the United States and China offered hope that the world’s two largest economies and carbon emitters can still work together.
At the same time, despite substantial progress since adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the world remains off track to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Key countries have not yet aligned their “nationally determined contributions” with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal. How should the world view COP26? Is progress being made, or are countries avoiding the tough choices? How essential is the United States? And where do international climate negotiations go from here?
On February 1, EPIC hosted Sue Biniaz, Deputy to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, who played a critical role in both the forming of the Paris Agreement and in the latest talks. Biniaz talked with EPIC journalism fellow and The New York Times climate reporter Lisa Friedman, who was in Glasgow covering the conference. They discussed the successes, setbacks and steps forward.