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Legal Gaps And US Elections May Turn COP26 Into Damp Squib

GWPF & Climate Home News

It’s beginning to dawn on the organisers of COP26, which will take place in November, that the international deadlock which has plagued these annual meetings since the Paris Agreement, is likely to solidify, threatening to turn the Glasgow meeting into yet another damp squib — as expected.

Legal ambiguities in the Paris climate agreement and uncertainties about the US presidential election may encourage some governments to sit on the fence until late 2020 to decide on climate action for the coming decade.

In the worst case, governments could wait until after a critical climate summit in Glasgow in November, known as Cop26, widely billed as a test of global ambition to address global warming at the first five-year milestone of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to update their climate plans to limit global warming “well below 2C” above pre-industrial times. There is stark scientific evidence and growing international pressure for this to happen this year.

The United Nations has called for steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible in 2020 to help limit global warming to 1.5C – the tougher Paris goal.

But it is now adjusting to the idea that submissions of some countries’ climate plans, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), will come late in the year.

“We are aware of the fact that some NDCs may likely be submitted in the last quarter of the year so we are adjusting our work to this reality,” the secretariat told Climate Home News in an emailed response to questions.

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