After two weeks of intense negotiations, countries have struck a climate deal at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed to on Saturday is the first climate package to include direct references on coal and fossil fuels. However, many countries were angered by a last-minute change to the text of the final agreement that called to phase “down” the use of coal, rather than phasing it “out”.
United Kingdom COP president Alok Sharma held back tears in the final minutes of the summit as he spoke to delegates, “I understand the deep disappointment, but I think as you have noted it is also vital that we protect this package.”
Despite deals being struck during the 26th iteration of COP, current pledges are unlikely to limit global warming to 1.5C, needed to avert disastrous weather events, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying the goal was on “life support”.
To keep the target within reach, global emissions will need to be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030.
Here, Al Jazeera takes a look at the major announcements made in Glasgow over the past two weeks.
Pledge to end deforestation
More than 140 nations agreed to stop and reverse global deforestation over the next decade. The deal, the first major agreement to come out of the summit, includes a $19.2bn (£14.3bn) pledge of public and private funds.
Among the signatories were Russia and Brazil who together account for more than 30 percent of the world’s forest area.
“In many ways, the pledge does create momentum, but the actual work has to be done when everyone comes back from COP,” Anders Haug Larsen, head of policy at the Rainforest Foundation Norway, told Al Jazeera.
“What creates further momentum is that you have these financial pledges as well on supporting rainforest countries in achieving their targets,” Larsen said.
“It is important for us to highlight that with these great sums of money comes a great responsibility for the donors to make sure that the funding ends up in the right hands and that it actually incentivises further actions.”
Absent from the agreement were India, Bolivia and Venezuela, which are all in the top 20 countries with the largest percentage of land area covered by forest.
Land clearing contributes to greenhouse gas emissions as carbon stored in forests is released back into the atmosphere. The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use aims to conserve and restore forests, as well as facilitate trade and development policies in order to keep global temperatures below 2C. Under the 2015 Paris climate accord, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit global warming to 2C, or ideally 1.5C.
Pledge to phase out coal
More than 40 countries agreed to phase out their use of coal power in order to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5C, while 23 countries signed the COP26 Coal to Clean Power Transition Agreement, committing for the first time to stop constructing and issuing permits for new coal plants.
Major international banks also committed to ending international public financing of new coal power by the end of 2021. The transition comes in an effort to minimise temperature rises in line with the Paris Agreement.
However, some of the largest coal producers and consumers were absent from the agreement, including China, which was responsible for 54 percent of global coal consumption last year.
Other notable absentees were India, the United States and Australia, who along with China account for almost three-quarters of coal consumption.
In light of calls by countries to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies, on the final day of the COP26 summit, India’s Climate Minister Bhupender Yadav said his country still has to “deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication”.
The final agreement opts to “phase down” rather than “phase out” unabated coal. This would allow new coal-fired power plants to be built if they are able to capture and store their carbon emissions.
The new wording on coal was a contentious change, but one that was ultimately accepted by delegates at the climate conference in order to reach an agreement.
Pledge to reduce methane emissions
The Global Methane Pledge was first proposed by the United States and the European Union in September. The pledge covers countries that are responsible for nearly half of all emissions related to human activity and represents 70 percent of the global economy.
More than 100 countries signed the pledge to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. It is hoped that by delivering the pledge, warming might be reduced by at least 0.2C by 2050.
Methane is considered a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide because of its potency to trap heat in the atmosphere. However, the top three emitters of methane – China, Russia and India – did not sign the pledge.
Despite these deals, new research published in Glasgow earlier this week said the current short-term goals set out by countries at COP26 will see global temperatures rise by 2.4C by the end of the year, far exceeding the 2C limit of the Paris accord.
New net-zero pledges
One of the main goals at COP26 was for nations to reach net-zero emissions. The concept refers to the balance between greenhouse gases released and removed from the atmosphere. Countries have been urged to achieve this target by 2050.
One of the biggest surprises of the climate conference was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge for India to reach net zero by 2070.
India is the third largest single contributor to CO2 emissions in the world. Its commitment includes a promise to secure 50 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2030.
Despite missing the 2050 net-zero target, the pledge has been regarded as a significant step for the country.
India accounted for more than 7 percent of global CO2 emissions last year, behind China and the US.
Nigeria is another country that pledged net zero at the COP26 summit, aiming to reach the target by 2060.
A recent report released by Climate Action Tracker stated that net-zero targets set out by nations are insufficient and need to be improved. According to the report, only 6 percent of countries pledging net zero have acceptable and robust national net-zero targets.
As part of the COP26 agreement, countries have been urged to strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets.
China-US climate cooperation
The US and China – the two largest emitters of CO2 – signed an unexpected joint declaration promising to boost climate cooperation over the next decade.
Their agreement seeks a reduction in methane emissions, tackling deforestation and regulations in decarbonisation.
China is responsible for 28 percent of global CO2 emissions, while the US accounts for 15 percent of emissions.
Although the commitment has been positively welcomed, it lacks any concrete steps to meet the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement.
“Both sides recognise that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris Agreement goals so we will jointly strengthen climate action,” said China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua.
Other agreements made during the COP summit included deals on green technology. More than 40 world leaders agreed on a plan led by the United Kingdom to speed up affordable and clean technology by 2030 including zero-emissions vehicles.
Forty-five countries pledged to take action on making farming more sustainable as well as investing in green agricultural practices. The UK aims for 75 percent of farmers to adopt low carbon practices by 2030.
The Clydebank Declaration was also signed by 22 countries to create zero-emission maritime shipping routes.