A pivotal moment in the fight against the climate crisis


The 26th UN climate change conference came to an end over the weekend with a step in the right direction. It resulted in the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook and kept the Paris targets alive, giving the chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Amongst other achievements COP 26 saw the launch of the Global Methane Pledge by over 100 countries, an important multilateral step to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal within reach and a good example of EU climate diplomacy and efficient transatlantic cooperation.

The European Green Deal is the world’s most advanced blueprint for reducing emissions and becoming climate neutral. EU Member States are legally committed to achieving the European Green Deal’s ambitious but realistic targets of a minimum 55% cut in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050. EU institutions and all EU Member States are now working to agree quickly on the full package of measures needed to achieve them. In parallel, the EU took the European Green Deal to Glasgow as our ‘calling card’ on the world stage and our invitation and inspiration to others to match our ambition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).



The World Leaders Summit on 1 November 2021 kicked off the 26th United Nations climate change conference. From 31 October to 13 November, COP26 brought together the 197 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the EU and all EU Member States.

The EU delegation was led by European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, representing the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, and Frans Timmermans Executive Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the European Green Deal, and Commissioner for Climate Action Policy, led the final negotiations on behalf of the EU.


Speaking on behalf of the EU, together with President von der Leyen, President Michel stressed that humanity must act now in order to limit global warming.




COP 26 came to a close on Saturday 13 November. The European Commission supported the consensus reached by over 190 countries after two weeks of intense negotiations. COP26 resulted in the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook and kept the Paris targets alive, giving us a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.






COP 26 achievements

Global Methane Pledge : At the COP26 in Glasgow, the United States, the EU, and partners formally launched the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. A total of over 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy and nearly half of anthropogenic methane emissions have now signed onto the pledge. The strong global support for the Pledge illustrates growing momentum to swiftly reduce methane emissions - widely regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming.

Countries joining the Global Methane Pledge commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify methane emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources. The countries who have joined the Pledge represent all regions of the world and include representatives from developed and developing nations.



Just Transition Partnership with South Africa : The governments of South Africa, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, along with the European Union, announced a new ambitious, long-term Just Energy Transition Partnership to support South Africa's decarbonisation efforts. The Partnership aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of South Africa's economy, with a focus on the electricity system, to help it achieve the ambitious goals set out in its updated Nationally Determined Contribution emissions goals.


€1 billion pledge to protect world forests : The European Union announced a €1 billion contribution to the Global Forests Finance Pledge. This 5-year support package from the EU budget will help partner countries to protect, restore and sustainably manage forests worldwide and deliver on the Paris Agreement.



Partnership in climate technologies : European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill Gates, the Founder of Breakthrough Energy, together with European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer, officially entered into a pioneering partnership that will boost investments in critical climate technologies.

The partnership between Commission, European Investment Bank and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will mobilise up to €820 million ($1 billion) between 2022-2026 to accelerate the deployment and rapidly commercialise innovative technologies that will help deliver European Green Deal ambitions and the EU's 2030 climate targets.


€100 million to the Adaptation Fund : The EU announced a new pledge of €100 million in finance for the Adaptation Fund, by far the biggest pledge made by donors at COP26. It underscores our determination to support climate adaptation objectives, and to strike a better balance between mitigation and adaptation, particularly in the most vulnerable countries and for the benefit of their most vulnerable populations. This applies first and foremost to Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. International public climate finance plays an important role in helping developing countries to implement the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.



Sustainable food systems for global food security and climate objectives : On 5 November 2021, countries participating at the COP26, as part of the discussions on agriculture, agreed on the need for a transition towards sustainable and climate-resilient food systems, taking into consideration the vulnerability of agriculture to the impacts of climate change. They recognised that this transition will be crucial to guarantee food security and end hunger throughout the globe as well as to achieve climate objectives, such as emission reductions.



COP 26 EU side events

EU side event on climate change and conflict : The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 26, provided an opportunity for further discussion on the interactions between climate change and security. Within this context, the EEAS and FPI, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research organised a side event in the EU pavilion, to explore the full scope of this broad challenge. The virtual event Climate change and conflict: prevention, foresight, resilience and adaptation of populations at risk took place on 2 November bringing together representatives from the EU, ICRC and PIK to discuss how to reconcile prevention, foresight and mitigation with effective engagement to address the existing humanitarian consequences of climate change.

A video message on the urgency of addressing the interplay between climate change and security from the HR/VP Josep Borrell was displayed at the occasion of another side event Climate, Peace and Stability: Weathering Risk Through COP and Beyond also on 2 November.



EU Ocean Day at COP 26 : In order to underline the importance of the nexus between the ocean and climate change EU Ocean Day was held on 9 November as part of the EU side events at COP 26, in presence of Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries who discussed EU action to protect the ocean.



To complement the event we released the wrap-up video of this year's #EUBeachCleanup campaign, an annual commitment to our planet together with our partners from the UN and the Smurfs.




In 60 seconds - Why does climate action matter?

EEAS Director for Global Issues, Olivier Bailly, takes the 60-second challenge. In one minute he highlights the urgency of tackling climate change.

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Myths and Truth on Climate Change

Against the background of UN's 26th Climate Conference, we look at 5 myths on climate change and provide facts that explain why the urgent need for climate action is real.

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HR/VP Blog - Glasgow: the decisive role of EU climate diplomacy



See also