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S&Ds: In Glasgow, the world took small steps but the climate emergency does not leave any room for complacency


15 Nov 2021


Climate & Environment

The COP26 came to an end. The S&D delegation, during the 5 day mission to Glasgow, had the opportunity to engage with delegates from around the world in a number of meetings, presenting the EU’s actions to address the climate crisis and meet the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees.

S&D co-ordinator in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland MEP, said:

“We can globally say that the COP26 was a timid step forward in the right direction. We regret the lack of some major turning points as we would have wanted and expected. However, several important progresses have been achieved keeping the 1.5 degrees goal still alive.

“Firstly, all major actors and big countries have realised the need for urgent action: the EU has its Climate Law and the Green Deal; President Joe Biden has taken the US back into the Paris Agreement; China has promised to peak its emissions; and India has increased its ambitions for renewable energy by 2030. It cannot be judged other than positive the fact that, eventually, the US and China now want to work together on climate change.

“It is crucially important that many countries have committed to a 30% reduction in methane emissions by 2030, phasing out coal power by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 in developing ones, to stop deforestation by 2030, and to phase out fossil-fuelled cars by 2035 in developed countries and by 2040 in developing States.

“As Progressives, we cannot help but remark on the shortfalls and the several important steps that still remain to be taken: The US and China should join the agreements concerning, for example, methane and the phasing out of fossil-fuelled vehicles; China should stop the development of coal power; India must become net zero long before 2070; while Australia and Brazil must raise their ambitions from 2015; and Saudi Arabia cannot slow down the whole world in the issue of fossil fuels. As Executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans stated: “European wealth was built on coal - if we continue in this direction, European deaths will be built on coal”. The EU should not wait for the world to phase out coal.

“The time is ticking and we need to act immediately. If not now, when?”

S&D vice-president responsible for the Green Deal, Mohammed Chahim MEP, declared:

This COP26 in Glasgow could not have been more different from the COP25 in Madrid two years ago. The world looks completely different now: the US joined the Paris Agreement again, countries such as China and Russia made a pledge to be climate neutral, and the Covid-19 crisis shook things up globally. The EU came to Glasgow, with not only the pledge to be climate neutral by 2050, but with a Climate Law and the right legislation to actually achieve those targets.”

“I am happy that during this COP26, the awareness grew that the difference between staying under 2 degrees or staying close to 1.5 degrees is actually enormous. It is very good news that this was adopted in the final text. We have to realise that adaptation costs will get out of hand if we do not invest enough in mitigation right now.”

“We have the pledges on methane, deforestation and investment in fossil fuels. Unfortunately, concrete steps regarding some of the outstanding problems are still missing in the concluding statements. Ending fossil fuel subsidies globally is a top priority for the near future. We must not leave this issue open and the EU should take the lead when it comes to this.”

S&D member in the environment committee, Cyrus Engerer MEP, added:

“While progress has been made, following the natural catastrophic loss and damage experienced across continents, we need stronger commitments by the richest countries on climate financing for adaptation measures and loss and damage. The countries that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change have been calling for the need to address the social and economic costs of climate change for decades. It is time for the rich, developed and biggest global emitters across history to stop dragging their feet and address the issue of loss and damage.

“We need to protect those communities, and natural habitats, who are suffering the worst consequences of climate change and who have done the least to cause it. It is high time for polluters to pay up. We must not stand for climate injustice!”


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