What should happen at COP26?

David Fopp
4 min readJul 13, 2021

The delegations should be given the mandate by their governments (which get it by their parliaments) to decide on the basis of the goals of the Paris agreement (1.5C/equity):

1 on the production side — an immediate ban on all new oil, gas and coal exploration and expansion into new reserves (and all investments in the “fossil industry”);

and that the existing production has to be phased out by over 6 percent per year (UN´s production gap report: https://productiongap.org/).

Doing the math for the amount of (burning) oil, gas and coal which is linked to a 1.5 degree warming opens up for the decision how much can be extracted and where so that we all can be sure that we stay within the (already prolematic) limit. A national and global register of all production is needed as well as an international cooperation (www.fossilfueltreaty.org) which governs the just transition.

This demands a decision making process and democratic debates by the world population about how to deal with justice aspects (compensation, historical debts by global North etc);

2 on the emission side — a global CO2-budget of 420 GT in 2018 (IPCC SR1.5) which is gone in around six years if we continue emitting CO2 like today (biomass, imports, flights and the emissions caused by the financial sector should be a part of the national accounting), in accordance to the legal responsibilities by the Paris agreement (especially if the cutting down and burning up of forests continues — which should be protected instead).

This require a debate by the world population about how to distribute this budget in a just way to countries and within countries to sectors etc. (without “creative accounting” and absurd assumptions about negative emission technologies). Which means in most high income countries: a regulation which guarantees more than a ten percent reduction annually, in all sectors (Anderson et al 2020);

3 a common global project of building a renewable energy system within around ten years (see Jacobson 2019, Teske 2019) while the production of fossil fuels is phased out; and taking care of the workers and communities linked to the fossil industry (see: http://civilsocietyreview.org and www.fossilfueltreaty.org).

This should be seen as one aspect of the wider task of providing the basic resources for a life in dignity for everyone, making — as the UN IPCC report formulates it — this drastic transformation of all aspects of our societies possible and safe. (As we proceed now, the soils are destroyed by non-regenerative agriculture and not enough food is produced or distributed according to UNs FAO. Not to speak of the lack of global free access to vaccines.)

All these three processes require global and national decisions about justice and care.

But they make the project visible that the entire world population sees itself as one solidaric entity.

Probably nothing of this will happen at COP26 (and the global injustice about the vaccine situation is mirroring it): the governments don’t talk about stopping fossil fuel production at all; they still build new infrastructure and invest in old one; and they develop instead a misleading “net zero 2050”-narrative — which doesn’t mean anything specific in terms of stopping the extraction of coal, gas and oil; or stopping the emissions. We are on the way to a two, three or four degrees warmer world. An irresponsible and disastrous way to treat the most vulnerable people , MAPA and the young generation.

All of this means: the core debate which should dominate every parliament now should be about global ethics and justice, about the history of injustices and the present ways to cooperate as one people on one planet.

The governments don’t see themselves as speaking for populations and the peoples of this planet. This has to change. Join #FridaysForFuture (youth-led) and #PeopleForFuture (answering to the young ones).

For a longer version, see Fopp (2020): https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-01-10/the-core-of-a-united-global-movement-reacting-to-the-ecological-and-climate-crisis/

Anderson, Kevin & Broderick, John F. & Stoddard, Isak (2020): »A factor of

two: how the mitigation plans of ›climate progressive‹ nations fall far short

of Paris-compliant pathways«, in: Climate Policy, 28. Mai 2020

Equity-principle: http://civilsocietyreview.org

Fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty: www.fossilfueltreaty.org

Emission Gap-report (2019): https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2019

Fopp, David (2020): https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-01-10/the-core-of-a-united-global-movement-reacting-to-the-ecological-and-climate-crisis/

Jacobson et al. (2019): “Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries”, in “One Earth 1”, s. 449–463

Newell, Peter & Simms, Andrew (2019): Towards a fossil fuel non-proliferationtreaty, Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.163675

Teske, Sven et al (2019): Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals, Springer