2020 was supposed to be the year of climate ambition. But the dynamics changed with the Covid-19 pandemic, which confronts all areas of life with new challenges. The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) was postponed to November 2021, and climate policy also generally seemed to take a back seat. However, the outlook improved towards the end of the year with a series of zero-emissions commitments by several countries and the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States.
In their article "Climate Diplomacy on Hold, But not Climate Change," Wolfgang Obergassel, Christof Arens, Christiane Beuermann, Victoria Brandemann, Hanna Wang-Helmreich, Dr. Lukas Hermwille and Nicolas Kreibich (all Research Unit Global Climate Governance at the Wuppertal Institute), and Meike Spitzner (Research Unit Mobility and Transport Policy at the Wuppertal Institute) analyse which progress could be made in the year of the pandemic regarding the fight against climate change. First, the article summarises the virtual events which were organised to replace the UN Climate Conference which was postponed to 2021. Furthermore, it also more generally analyses what progress was made within the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement. The focus here is on the update of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which the Parties to the Paris Agreement need to regularly revise. Finally, the dynamics among non-Party actors are brought into focus. The authors emphasise that implementation of the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement is lagging far behind. However, while this is mostly the responsibility of national policy, the international process offers clear opportunities to promote further climate action.
The policy paper is published in Carbon & Climate Law Review (Volume 15 (2021), Issue 3) and available under the link below.