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Here’s What Countries Have Pledged to Do About the Climate Crisis

Here’s What Countries Have Pledged to Do About the Climate Crisis

Participants walk around a venue for COP26.

The most recent UN climate summit—the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26)—was widely billed as a critical event for securing meaningful commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The final agreement for the COP26 has not been finished yet. But the conference has already featured some notable new commitments by governments, financial institutions, and individuals:

Deforestation

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More than 130 countries pledged to halt and reverse deforestationLand degradation by 2030 The signatories possess 90 percent of the world’s forests. Notably, Brazil, which is home to the Amazon Rainforest signed on. In addition, Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest people, pledged $2 billionTo restore natural habitats and to transform food systems

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Climate Change

Energy and Environment

Energy and Climate Policy

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Paris Climate Agreement

This Emmy Award–winning InfoGuide visualizes deforestation in the Amazon.

Methane

More than one hundred countries signed the U.S.- and European Union–led Global Methane Pledge and agreed to collectively slash methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. 

This In Brief explains the process. cutting methane emissions can move the needle on climate change

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Fossil and Coal Fuels

Twenty-three countries made new commitmentsTo phase out coal. Some signed on to an initiativeto assist developing countries like South Africa and India with their transition from coal. There are 25 countries and five financial institutions that have committed to it. stop public financingFor most fossil fuel projects by 2022. Only a few countries joined an alliance [PDF]This aims to stop new drilling for oil or gas. 

This In Brief explains how hard it will be for the world to quit coal.

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Climate Change

Energy and Environment

Energy and Climate Policy

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Paris Climate Agreement

U.S.-China Agreement

The United States and China, the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, agreed to boost cooperationThey will work together to combat climate change over the next ten years. They stated that they would work together to increase renewable energy use, develop regulatory frameworks, and deploy technologies such as carbon capture. 

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Ava Blando, a junior at Robbinsville High School, and the artistic activism coordinator for New Jersey Student Sustainability Coalition, served as the master of ceremonies for the virtual awards ceremony honoring six teams from South Jersey who were the winners of the New Jersey Student Climate Challenge.

For Foreign Affairs, experts debate whether the United States can trust China to fight climate change

India’s Net-Zero Pledge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that India, one the top emitters of carbon dioxide after China, will be aiming to reduce its emissions. achieve net-zero emissionsBy 2070 

This Think Global Health article focuses on how communities are adapting to climate change in India’s Zanskar Valley.

Climate Finance

A few countries promised to increase fundingTo help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate changes. Japan and Italy both pledged additional $2 billion per annum over the next five years. Climate finance is expected to be included in COP26’s final agreement.

CFR’s Alice C. Hill and Madeline Babin explain why climate finance is critical to accelerating global action.

Participants walk around a venue for COP26.
In November 2021, thousands of people from all over the world will gather in Glasgow to witness COP26.
Christoph Soeder/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

Zero-Emission Vehicles

More than 30 countries, dozens more states, and many automobile companies agreed to work together to ensure that new cars and vans sold are zero-emissionBy 2035 in the top markets and by 2040 globally

This Backgrounder examines the state of U.S. infrastructure

Firms’ Net-Zero Pledges

More than 450 banks and insurers, pension funds, as well as other firms, that collectively manage $130 Trillion, have committed to using their funds. reach net-zero emissionsBy 2050 

The Why it Matters podcast unpacks how markets can be leveraged in the fight for climate action.

What’s Next?

Experts have said that while these commitments are significant, much more needs to be done to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal on limiting warming. Before COP26 began, CFR’s Hill reviewed what needed to happen at the conference to make an impact. Writing for Foreign Affairs, University of Toronto’s Jessica F. Green looks at how reforming tax and trade rules after COP26 can help fight climate change.

Will Merrow created this graphic for In Brief.

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