I’ve been trying to process postmortems from COP26 in Glasgow, which ended officially on Nov. 13. It’s not easy to make sense of it all, with some participants and commentators claiming much success and others claiming abject failure. Both, it seems, are true. I choose to be grateful for progress on ending deforestation, reducing methane emissions, and on getting some meaningful cooperation between the US and China. I also choose to remain unsurprised that the commitments agreed on are so far insufficient to assure no more than 1.5C in warming this century–and that COP commitments have little to no “teeth.”
COPs are important, but they are only one piece of how change happens. Despite some disappointing results, the public awareness roused by COP26 matters. And the real work continues. Here’s a short, helpful summary of what was accomplished–and what wasn’t–written for the LA Times by an atmospheric science professor.