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COP2: Are We Getting Warmer? 


Diplosphere held a panel discussion, COP26: Getting Warmer? on November 25th in Wellington, with; Sam Pass, British Deputy High Commissioner, H.E Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, Cook Islands High Commissioner, Catherine Sirota, Senior Account Manager, Amazon Web Services, Prof Tim Naish, Antarctic Research Centre, VUW, Andrew Hoggard, National President, Federated Farmers, and Tatsushi Nishioka, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan, co-chaired by Amos Palfreyman, Sprout AgTech and Maty Nikkhou-O’Brien, Executive Director, Diplosphere.


The discussions featured an array of experts within diplomacy, business, farming and technology that fostered a perceptive insight into the outcomes of COP26, its ramifications domestically, and greater innovative cooperation paving the way for a sustainable future. 


While these opinions may diverge; key ideas and analysis were communicated, as summarised below:



  • The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered a greater understanding of emissions reductions vital to mitigate climate change—following extensive lockdowns.


  • COP26 has initiated a decade of action, requiring the halving of global emissions as the world shifts closer to a number of severe tipping points.


  • Agreements to phase down coal, reduce deforestation, decrease emissions, increase financing, and create a transparent process to hold states accountable, has kept COP26’s goal to mitigate global warming to within 1.5°C attainable—through increased efforts.


  • There is some dissatisfaction as claims assert states’ contributions fail to meet their fair share towards climate pledges, lending itself to the vulnerability of Pacific countries disproportionately impacted by climate change—despite contributing less than 0.03% of global emissions.


  • All are collectively responsible for mitigating climate change—not a state response, but global.


  • All mitigation pathways are futile without immediate reductions of coal, simultaneous to reductions in carbon dioxide and methane emissions. 


  • Collaboration is key to mitigating climate change—such as the joint venture between Tuaropaki Trust and Obayashi Corporation to create zero-emission hydrogen using geothermal energy. 

  • The balance between reduction of agricultural emissions and ensuring food security may require more consideration by climate reforms—as high demand globally for farming products incentives production.


  • If climate pledges remain hollow, the future is bleak as median temperatures potentially surpass 4°C warmer than pre-industrial levels—well beyond COP’s 1.5°C target. 


  • Innovative technologies accelerate action to meet sustainable agreements—domestically this must work efficiently with farming systems, CO2 extraction and renewable energy production. 

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