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COP26 climate deal: Reasons for hope

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Just about to head to Singapore, but before I do, I thought I would give you guys a quick recap on the COP26 summit, couple weeks long in Glasgow.

And I understand that it's fashionable and important to talk about just how immediate and immense the climate crisis is, and that we didn't do enough, and we have more work in front of us, and all that is true, but actually I come away from the last two weeks fairly optimistic in the sense that the acceleration of effort that we're seeing from all corners, I mean there's even more from the central governments than you would've expected, and they were the underperformers, certainly more from the private sector, more from the banks, more from the corporates. And as a consequence, right now, I mean the big headline is that we are still on track for 2.4 degrees centigrade of warming if all of the countries make good on their existing pledges, which is itself unlikely. So we're not really on track for 2.4, it's higher. And that's double where we are right now, 1.2.

Having said that, there are a number of positive things that I think are also getting baked in, not just how much carbon is in the atmosphere. One is that they have decided, the participants of COP26, that they're going to come with new goals next year, as opposed to every five years, which had been the process. So as we're seeing more effort, as we're seeing more progress, we're also seeing stepped up urgency. And the very fact that you will now have a one-year, an annual summit that becomes an action-forcing event, even if it's marked by half measures, will end up getting you a lot more progress. I think that's significant and everyone agreed to that.

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COP26: What to expect

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a happy COP26 kickoff day. That's in Glasgow. We've got a bunch of Eurasia Group folks there. I am not. I'm here in New York and of course wouldn't you know, it's the first day that it's pretty cold out and so I actually got the winter gear out. It feels a little bit perverse given the climate issues that we're talking about and thought I'd talk a little bit about where we're going.

Look, it's interesting, first of all, because the COP26 summit is right after the G-20. The G-20 didn't get much attention this time around. Also, because there wasn't an awful lot of news being made. I mean, the big announcements are coordination on the economic side. It is about an alternate minimum tax, which was been driven by the United States and the Europeans. We had movement towards that the last OECD summit and full agreement this time around at the G-20. Also, there is breakthrough on aluminum and steel tariffs that would have led to tit for tat, from the Europeans against American exports, a bunch of luxury goods. Nobody needs any of that. Both sides taking a step away from the brink, improvement in terms of globalization and movement of goods and less costs being born by consumers. And at a time when we're hitting inflation. And when there are all sorts of supply chain difficulties and shutdowns, no leaders really want to focus on a bigger fight.

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COP falling apart doesn't mean we're failing to respond to climate: Ian Bremmer

For Ian Bremmer, on the one hand accepting climate science in the age of fake news and disinformation is a huge victory. But on the other hand, in a few days COP26 — the biggest global summit on the most important global issue we all face right now — will probably just kick the can down the road because global leadership has checked out. Still, Bremmer says this is an opportunity for the COP process to be driven in the future by other people different from the current old males that run the show.

Ian Bremmer spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

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