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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Will Cop26 effectively tackle climate change? Only a quarter of people think so

Only a quarter of people think the Cop26 climate change summit will be effective in tackling climate change, according to polling conducted during the Glasgow meeting’s final days.

While 50 per cent of people think the summit was useful for getting countries to agree to tackle climate change, only 28 per cent think it will be effective in solving the problem.

Only a quarter think it will make a big difference to them and their family, according to the survey of 2,000 people across the UK conducted by Opinium for the Telegraph.

But more than 40 per cent of people either said they were not sure, or did not have an opinion on the impact of the summit.

Findings reflect lack of public confidence in world leaders to tackle climate change

The two-week meeting in Glasgow brought together negotiators from 196 countries, plus the European Union, to try and agree a global deal to limit warming.

The findings reflect a lack of public confidence in world leaders to take action on climate change.

They also reflect a lack of awareness over the summit, despite an extensive Government engagement campaign and widespread media coverage.

The conference reached a dramatic end last weekend when a global agreement to phase out coal was watered down at the last minute under pressure from China, India and the US.

The UK said it had achieved its aim at the summit to “keep alive” the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5C.

But critics said the vague wording of many of the pledges gave countries leeway to continue to pollute.

Britain has one year to encourage countries to stick pledges

In the days after the summit, Australia, China and the US all indicated that they would not increase their emissions cuts in time for next year’s meeting, a key pledge from the talks.

The UK holds the presidency of the summit until next year’s event, when it will transfer to hosts in Egypt, and will spend the next 12 months attempting to encourage countries to stick to their pledges.

While the environment and climate change moved to second place as one of the most important issues facing the country for the first time in Opinium’s poll, only one in five said the event had actually increased their level of interest.

Sam Hall, the director of the Conservative Environment Network said the results reflected an understandable scepticism of the process.

“Significant and tangible progress was made at Cop26, with the historic Glasgow Climate Pact. But the public is rightly sceptical that we haven’t yet seen sufficient ambition and action to limit warming to 1.5 degrees,” he said.

“While it is not surprising that most people aren’t familiar with a UN conference – even one hosted in the UK – the survey shows that the salience of and concern about climate change are at record highs.

“The challenge for politicians is to harness that desire for climate action and engage people with the solutions that can cut emissions and improve living standards.”

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