COP26 ends: where is the common denominator?

In the final hours of the World Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the wording of the final declaration is still being worked out. Issues at stake include the acceleration of the coal phase-out and the key question of when climate-damaging emissions must fall to net zero. But Europe's media also highlight important progress on the fringe of the discussions.

Open/close all quotes
El Confidencial (ES) /

Bank system can get things moving

El Confidencial finds several pieces of news concerning the financial sector promising:

“First, it has committed to reducing its net emissions to zero by 2050. Secondly, the European Commission wants to oblige banks to include sustainability factors in their risk management. ... Third, the European Central Bank (ECB) has declared its firm intention to incorporate climate change into its supervisory activities and monetary policy. ... If successful, these three initiatives could help to integrate climate change into decisions on lending, investment and macroeconomic stability. ... Finance is a key factor in the fight against climate change, which should reinforce, not replace, the political initiative.”

Upsala Nya Tidning (SE) /

Now the real negotiations can begin

Regardless of what the final document says, COP26 can be considered a success because of the concrete pledges from China, India and the US, Upsala Nya Tidning argues:

“The criticism from the environmental associations will be scathing as usual. Far too little and far too late is being done to definitively reach the 1.5 degree target, and the same is also true for much more modest goals. But those who focus only on the fact that there's still a long way to go overlook that at least we're finally on the road. Almost 30 years after the first World Climate Conference, we share a common picture of the problem. With that, the real negotiations can begin.”

Trends-Tendances (BE) /

Now we need a plan

Trends-Tendances lists all the things that need to happen for the resolutions to be implemented:

“The massive decarbonisation of the world cannot be achieved without a comprehensive master plan. This requires creating incentives to promote decarbonised manufacturing processes. But it also means transforming economic aid from the ground up to support the companies that cannot decarbonise on their own. In addition, the necessary infrastructure must be created (charging points, electric hubs, etc.) and all public spaces must be redesigned to create new facilities and preserve indispensable agricultural and forestry land.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Be honest about what is ahead

COP26 agreements must not give us a false sense of security, The Irish Independent warns:

“There is a very real risk that any progress achieved at the conference will be perceived as having climate action in hand. We need to start setting better expectations of what is ahead and help to increase understanding of the impact of not moving fast enough. There is likely to be a growing anger as we begin to understand the scale of what we are going to be asked to do. We will need more honesty and humility from our leaders and past leaders. 51pc emission reductions by 2030 is not just 'a little bit greener'. It is a complete transformation.”

Observador (PT) /

Protests alone won't bring major change

Ultimately, the outcome depends on further negotiations with China and India, Observador reminds us:

“The fight against global pollution will remain ineffective without China's and India's active participation. But the governments of the two Asian powers will naturally prioritise reducing the poverty of their populations, even if this means increasing pollution. It is no doubt nice to stand by Greta. ... But what matters is real, tough negotiations with the presidents of China and India. Until that happens, the Gretas of the world can shout in the streets of European cities as much as they like, but nothing will change in the fight against global pollution.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Agreement despite new cold war

China and the US announced on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement for better climate protection. Corriere della Sera is pleased:

“And in the end, the Chinese did speak. Surprisingly, Xi Jinping's chief negotiator stepped out of the shadows yesterday afternoon to announce a 'joint declaration with the United States to strengthen climate protection', which includes commitments to reduce methane emissions, protect forests and phase out coal. Given the cold war blowing across the Pacific between the two superpowers, this is an almost historic agreement that proves climate talks are not following the same path as global geostrategy.”

Libertatea (RO) /

Future of the planet won't be decided in the West

It is imperative that the planned investments in green technologies end up in the right places, Cornel Ban, a professor at Copenhagen Business School, warns in Libertatea:

“A large part of the money should go to areas that are highly risky for investors, such as in spreading the use of green hydrogen from wind or solar energy, natural or artificial carbon capture technologies and advanced batteries. ... The danger is that this money will go where the risk-return ratio is best, i.e. to rich and relatively rich countries. ... The dynamics of demographics in today's consumption growth rate show that emissions will explode in developing countries and the future of the planet will actually be decided there.”