Echoing the opening words of the COP26 President, Alok Sharma, is it possible to say six years on from where Paris promised, Glasgow has delivered?
Following a one-year postponement of COP26 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and with many countries' budgets already stretched as a result, there were concerns in advance of COP26 that it would not be possible for an agreement as significant as the Paris Agreement to be reached.
At the start of COP26, over a hundred countries signed up to a global methane pledge which aims to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. This is a critical target to meet the Paris pledge of limiting the global temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, top methane emitters China, India and Russia did not join.
Over forty world leaders also backed the creation of a multi-lateral agreement to encourage the uptake of low-carbon technologies. This is to reassure investors that investment in green technology makes sound financial sense as well as cut emissions.
The first draft of the COP26 agreement was published on 10th November and while the final document will not be a new treaty, it will be made up of a series of decisions and resolutions building on the Paris Agreement.
The release of the first draft was followed by a surprise announcement later in the day by the world's two largest CO2 emitters, China and the United States of America, where their representatives vowed to work together to boost climate co-operation.
While no concrete policies have yet been agreed, their agreement—ten months in the making—pledges that the US and China will work together to cut emissions and create a joint working group to meet regularly over the next decade to address the climate challenges ahead. A significant step despite President Xi Jinping's notable non-attendance.
I was fortunate to be selected as a volunteer at COP26 and over the last two weeks I have attended the Green Zone and spoken to both delegates and fellow volunteers. I have heard optimism and pessimism. Optimism that COP26 is a significant turning point and pessimism around developing nations securing sufficient funding to be able to meet the agreed goals. While there has been anger at the private plane use of world leaders, we have also seen the passion and enthusiasm of the young (and old) marching through the streets of Glasgow in the name of climate justice.
While we await the final COP26 'Glasgow Agreement' I truly hope that we can proudly say that Glasgow has delivered.