Missing Leaders, Eyewatering Hotel Rates and a Resurgent Pandemic Could Derail the Most Important Climate Summit in Years | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Missing Leaders, Eyewatering Hotel Rates and a Resurgent Pandemic Could Derail the Most Important Climate Summit in Years

The stakes at COP26, the U.N. climate summit that begins Nov. 1 in Glasgow, couldn’t be higher. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has called the summit the world’s “last best hope” to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Over two weeks, some 20,000 delegates representing 195 countries will try to resolve significant differences on how the world should cut its greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim to “keep 1.5°C alive.” That is, to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5°C over the preindustrial era by 2050, after which point climate change will likely reach catastrophic proportions .

But the hope already seems to be fading among politicians and campaigners, with a week still to go before delegates step foot inside Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus. Political obstacles to success at the conference are mounting. Many world leaders of major emitters are declining to attend. Developing countries face major costs and barriers to participate. The U.K.’s COVID-19 transmission rates are near an all-time high. And there are doubts over preparation for the summit; according to The Guardian, a group of major COP26 sponsors recently wrote to organizers condemning the event as “mismanaged” and “very last minute,” blaming “very inexperienced” civil servants for the problems.

Officials are already tamping down expectations for the COP26 outcome. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told the AP that “there will be a gap” between countries’ emissions commitments at the summit and the reductions needed to reach the Paris agreement’s goals. British prime minister Boris Johnson, normally an enthusiastic booster, conceded this week that negotiations will be “extremely tough.” Last month he said that there is only a “six in 10 chance” that rich countries will fulfill their promises on climate aid.

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