State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

After COP26 Cheers and Jeers, Some Hopeful Climate and Energy Undercurrents

Scenes from the final hours at COP26
Scenes from the final hours at COP26. Photos: UNFCCC

Two weeks of climate treaty negotiations, demonstrations and proclamations in Glasgow ended Saturday night with another non-binding nudge toward climate progress even as heat-trapping gases and climate impacts accumulate.

Is humanity’s climate and energy future safer now than it was the last time world leaders met on climate a year ago?

I’d argue, marginally, yes, but not because of anything that happened in the negotiators’ Blue Zone at the conference complex.

And of course that is a qualified yes. It’ll take hard, sustained work to build progress where it’s needed most — in countries with the fewest energy choices and greatest vulnerability to today’s climate impacts, let alone what’s coming on this human-heated planet. That’s also where the most emissions growth is coming.

It’s up to nations that gained power and wealth burning fossil fuels to invest for change in the under-energized world even as they cut emissions at home.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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