hedegaard10_Mark KerrisonIn Pictures via Getty Images_cop26 Mark KerrisonIn Pictures via Getty Images

The EU Must Step Up in Glasgow

As world leaders prepare to gather for COP26 next month, expectations for progress are low, even as the need to address climate change becomes more urgent. The European Union was critical in building the coalition needed to conclude the Paris climate agreement in 2015, and success in Glasgow may again depend on EU leadership.

COPENHAGEN – The United Kingdom’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, may not appeal to everyone – especially European Union leaders put off by Brexit. But the UK is hosting the latest round of global climate negotiations, COP26, in Glasgow next month, so the EU must put aside its issues with Johnson and come ready to work.

Up to this point, the history of the global climate talks held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a tale of two European cities: Copenhagen and Paris.

In 2009, world leaders and their national negotiators came together in Copenhagen to conclude a comprehensive treaty that would commit the entire world to far-reaching action to prevent the worst ravages of global warming. It didn’t happen. Too many of the big players (and emitters) arrived without any viable proposals for reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, and EU leaders found themselves hanging around in the corridors while the United States, China, and India crafted a nonbinding agreement that left many issues unresolved. Representatives from the most vulnerable countries looked on in despair as their interests once again were sidelined.

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