Climate change conference COP26 in the final hours of negotiations

Two men with face mask talking
U.S. climate representative John Kerry talks with China's chief climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua during the UN Climate Change Conference, Scotland, November 13, 2021, photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

World leaders at the United Nations climate change conference COP26 Glasgow are preparing a final deal on Saturday to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

The conference, which officially ended Friday, aims to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Scientists say that to go over that limit would unleash extreme sea level rise and catastrophic weather, including droughts, storms and wildfires far worse than now.

Campaigner at Plantbased Treaty, Simone Scampoli, mentioned the lack of talk about animal farming during COP26: “The animal farming industry is literally destroying the biodiversity.”

“I really believe the future will be vegan. I really believe that,” Scampioli said. “But we need to act on it now because the science is telling us that we have just five years left before we reach the tipping point, and once it’s done, then it’s going to be hard for us.”

“World leaders again have failed to address an important factor in achieving those targets: ending factory farming”, Josef Pfabigan, president of animal welfare organization Four Paws, said.

“Animal agriculture, and particularly factory farming, does not only significantly contribute to global methane emissions, but feed production and creation of feeding lots are main drivers behind deforestation,” Pfabigan added.

Over 100 countries agreed to cut their methane emissions 30% by 2030 under the Global Methane Pledge.

Legally binding
Many countries submitted formal pledges, known as “nationally determined contributions” or NDCs, to cut emissions. Whether those goals are legally binding is for individual countries to decide.

“The NDCs are voluntary measures,” said Lakshman Guruswamy, an international environmental law expert at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “There’s no way of implementing, imposing, or trying to enforce a non-binding agreement.”

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