Cop26’s main purpose was to try to reach an agreement that would keep global average temperature rises to 1.5C below pre-industrial levels. 

The key to this benchmark was an agreement regarding coal use.  

Fossil fuel is currently the most polluting material on the planet, particularly by industrial superpowers such as India and China. 

Scotland had delegates who spent many days and weeks discussing the best language for tying countries together to close down their coal-fired power stations.

Summit participants believed they had created a framework that would allow for this to happen, and talked about nations wanting to ‘phase-out’ carbon.

At the end of the night in Glasgow, however, it was toned down by China. This push, supported by India and an erstwhile rival, saw the phrase replaced with ‘phase out’.

This is because it doesn’t force countries to reduce their coal use. 

Alok Sharma apologised last night for his last-gasp decision. To pass the Glasgow Pact, unanimous support was required.

Today, he said it was a historic achievement considering previous Cop summits failed to make any progress on coal consumption. 

WWas there anything else that was agreed upon? 

To help developing countries adapt to climate changes, money has doubled. The goal at the moment is $100bn per year. However, there may be a billion-dollar fund by 2025.

But the agreement also noted ‘with deep regret’ that wealthy nations had also failed to stump up a separate annual sum of $100 billion they promised over a decade ago. 

A range of rich countries made pledges to support two U.N. funds, which are crucial in helping vulnerable nations adjust to climate change.

The pledged amounts are still far lower than the $70 billion that developing countries need right now. This amount could increase to $300 billion per year by 2030 according to United Nations. 

The United Nations urged all countries to make their payments ‘urgently, through 2025’.

It was also possible to set a goal for adaptation finance. This sector currently represents only 25% of global climate finance for developing economies and received just $20 billion in 2019. 

To encourage further ambition, the major emitters are also asked to set new goals at Egypt’s 2022 UN Climate Conference in Egypt.

China has always been cautious of others scrutinising its work. China is also expected to now report on an annual basis, instead of once every 10 years like other developing and emerging countries. 

We need it!

It was obvious that, when the Paris Agreement was reached in 2015, the nation action plans or national determined contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries for emission reductions up to 2030 had left the world far off the track of meeting the agreement’s temperature goals.

The agreement built in a ratchet mechanism that would see countries return with updated plans up to 2030 by Cop26 – which was meant to take place in 2020, but was delayed by the pandemic.

However, the most recent set of plans that countries have submitted to Glasgow shows the world still far from achieving the required 45 per cent emission cuts by 2030 in order to reach the 1.5C target.

The summit saw countries under immense pressure to reach a Glasgow agreement to raise their emission reduction ambitions in 2020 to prevent the 1.5C target from falling into disarray.

Given the already severe effects of 1.1C global warming, it was imperative to help developing countries deal with this crisis and address any loss or damage that they may be sustaining.

Scientists warn that to limit temperature rises above 1.5C by 2030, the world must reduce global carbon emissions by 45per cent and then to zero at mid-century. 

What does this mean for the average person in Britain? 

Climate action is changing lives. However, the UK has already set targets to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 in accordance with the Paris Agreement and its national legal carbon-cutting goals.

The government is working to implement plans to achieve them. This includes measures like the phaseout of coal-powered vehicles, ban on traditional cars, and attempts to convert home heating systems to cleaner alternatives to boilers.

The longer-term goal is to limit global warming at 1.5C. This will help protect the population from any adverse effects of climate changes.

This means that the UK can avoid the worst flooding, storms, coastal erosion and water shortages as well as the heatwaves caused by rising temperatures.