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Reflections on outcomes of COP26 – Stephen Morgan MP

We all needed the government to succeed in Glasgow, but I’m afraid to say that despite some modest progress, we are miles from where we need to be to secure the emissions reductions necessary to keep 1.5C alive.

That aim is on life support after this summit. We needed transformational change, and we got little more than more of the same. Despite the inclusion of coal in the final agreement, and some side deals on issues like methane, deforestation and finance, Glasgow did not achieve what we needed it to.

The respected Climate Action Tracker, and the UN Emissions Gap report update, both show that there was not enough progress to halve global emissions to 2030, and that we are 20-25 per-cent of the way to this goal at most.

Whilst COP26 took place in the context of difficult global geopolitics, Boris Johnson and his government bear some of the responsibility for the failure of this summit to do more. We have long argued that he should have treated it with the seriousness it deserves, and had a proper plan for success.

The government undermined its own negotiating position by facing both ways in many cases. They called on countries to phase out fossil fuels and power past coal, whilst licensing a huge oilfield at Combo and flirting with a new coal mine in Cumbria. They called for finance for developing countries whilst cutting our aid budget – the only G7 country to do so. They even let big emitters off the hook, like Australia, by removing temperature commitments in our trade deal with them.

The government must now do better. We remain the COP President until Egypt next year, and it is vital government learns the lessons of their failure and finally delivers climate action and justice at home and abroad. I will continue to press government to tackle the climate emergency, and make the right choices for Portsmouth, Britain and the world.

Stephen Morgan MP