The world is on track for catastrophic levels of global heating far in excess of the limits in the Paris agreement despite increased carbon-cutting pledges from governments made at Cop26, according to Climate Action Tracker (CAT).
The latest verdict of CAT – the world's most respected climate analysis coalition – provided a stark warning to almost 200 countries gathered in Glasgow as negotiations enter their most challenging phase.
Temperature rises will top 2.4 degrees by the end of this century based on the short-term goals countries have set out, CAT concludes in its latest analysis.
That would far exceed the 2-degree upper limit of the Paris agreement, and 1.5 degree limit aimed for at the Cop26 talks. At that level widespread extreme weather – sea-level rises, drought, floods, heatwaves and fiercer storms – would cause devastation across the globe, it predicts.
The estimate is in sharp contrast to optimistic forecasts last week suggesting warming could be held to 1.9 degrees or 1.8 degrees, thanks to commitments announced at the talks.
The UK, as hosts of Cop26, were due to release overnight a first draft of the summit communiqué, which will led to consultations with national capitals across the globe. US climate envoy John Kerry said he expected the talks to produce a deal on carbon-trading rules, and predicted the US "won't have coal" by 2030.
However, Cop26 president Alok Sharma said more progress was needed in negotiations to secure a broad-based deal. He told reporters there was a "mountain still to climb" in coming days while time was running out.
“The time has come to find political consensus,” he added.