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World still heading for 2.4C warming despite COP26

Though some progress has been made at COP26, no country is currently doing enough to lower global heating below 2C by the end of this century – according to the latest analysis.

New research suggests that we’re still heading toward 2.4C of global warming by 2100 even with current COP26 negotiations, according to Climate Action Tracker (CAT).

This finding puts a dent in the optimism built up over the last few weeks in Glasgow, where world leaders have outlined a variety of new pledges including halting deforestation by 2030 and reducing methane emissions by 30% within the next decade.

It makes very clear that we’re still a long way from reaching the desired 1.5C global temperature increase cap, assuming that all current promises are filled. Put simply, we need more action and severe cuts to current pollutive practices if we’ve any hope of keeping things under control.

The UK’s Met Office has warned that 1 billion people could be severely affected by deadly heat and humidity if global temperatures increase above 2C. Conclusions from the report stated that in 2030, green house gas emissions will still be twice as high as needed to keep within 1.5C.

So, any good news from all this doom and gloom? Although the current projection is concerning, it is an improvement over previous reports from 2015 that estimated we’d be at 3.6C by the end of the century.

While we absolutely are not where we should be, things are at least heading the right direction, albeit slowly.

New promises by the US and China have helped boost predictions, but CAT was quick to point out that the actual quality of these plans is shoddy at best.

Despite over 140 governments – covering 90% of global emissions – promising to reach net zero, only a select few have provided pragmatic plans on how this will be achieved. For most it is still an abstract hypothetical and not a tangible long-term commitment.

A big buffer in projections right now is the continued use of coal and oil in some countries. We’ll need to ditch them entirely to get properly on track.

All this comes as Obama told young people at COP26 to ‘remain frustrated’ at the climate situation and the failings of older politicians to act appropriately. He stated bluntly that ‘we are still nowhere near where we need to be’.

COP26 is expected to end this week – for now you can follow our live updates courtesy of our tech editor, Jamie.