The Message From Glasgow: Climate Politics Is Local

The COP26 Glasgow summit was probably disappointing with little to show by way of policy progress. The conference president, Alok Sharma, noted: “We can say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 (degrees Celsius) within reach, but its pulse is weak.”

If this is the state of climate politics, it is depressing. Post Paris, aggressive decarbonization was supposed to be up and running. And the best we can say after the Glasgow summit is that it is alive!

Glasgow did move the policy needle a bit. Countries agreed on new rules for carbon trading, tackling methane emission, curbing deforestation, and phasing down coal (although ironically, coal consumption is up this year).

In addition, developed countries promised to provide $100 billion annual climate aid between 2021 and 2025.

Did Glasgow influence U.S. climate policy? It neither accelerated nor derailed Biden’s climate agenda. The reason is that climate politics is increasingly local.

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