COP26: Time to Keep Up the Pressure

Author Llyr Gruffydd MS   |   Published 24/11/2021   |   Last Updated 24/11/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

Llyr Gruffydd MS, Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, looks at the positives and negatives after his time in COP26.


The dust has settled and the circus has moved on. Glasgow has returned to normal. COP26 already feels as if it was in the distant past.

Before the summit, I wrote a blog about my hopes and expectations for it. So what’s the verdict? Am I full of hope or completely despondent?

Before COP26, I said we needed to see commitments on financing to support developing countries tackle climate change.

We know this hasn’t happened so far and that rich countries have fallen woefully short of their promise, made in COP15, to provide poorer countries with £75 billion a year for transition. COP26 saw a new agreement to address any shortfall within two years.

This should be welcomed but my concern is that these seemingly astronomical sums are going to fall short of what is necessary, particularly for climate adaptation in the worst affected countries.

I also said we need to see good intentions converted into decisive action. Several headline agreements came out of COP26 in areas such as fossil fuels and methane, on deforestation, and transport.

But the consensus is that the commitments are barely enough to keep alive the Paris Agreement’s aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

I’m pleased that countries have agreed to bring back strengthened emissions-cutting targets by the end of next year, but as I said in my last blog, we can’t keep kicking the can down the road.     

Finally, I said that I hoped to see evidence of a just transition. There was considerable criticism during the summit that poorer countries, particularly indigenous communities, had been excluded. That is unacceptable and must be addressed in time for the next COP.

I was pleased to see Welsh Ministers involved in talks with representatives of these communities during the summit. Wales can benefit from sharing experience and knowledge with them.        

Overall, I think Wales had a good summit – this was an example of what we can achieve as a smaller country on the world stage.

Ministers from the Welsh Government were very visible and were at the centre of several important commitments. Welsh citizens also played their part – our Youth Climate Ambassadors seemed to be working tirelessly to raise awareness throughout the summit.

Many Welsh organisations had a presence and I caught up with NFUCymru and Climate Cymru while I was there. Several Senedd Committee Chairs and Members attended, to share our experiences as parliamentarians.

Perhaps it was always unlikely that COP26 was going to result in one big, neat agreement that would limit global warming to 1.5C. These are global negotiations and are complicated. But governments made several commitments that now need to be delivered on.

It’s more important than ever that we all - citizens, organisations, and politicians - keep up the pressure, so that we hold governments to account and keep 1.5C alive.

That work starts in earnest now.