American Sustainable Business Council Statement on the Closing of COP26

Media Release

Washington, D.C. — The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC) have been reporting from Glasgow on the proceedings of COP26 for the past two weeks and reporting regularly at https://www.asbcouncil.org/blog, where yesterday’s final post was shared in a post titled “Glasgow Moves the Needle on Climate Crisis and Creates Pathways for Ambition and Optimism.” 

“These negotiations will be remembered as an important step in addressing the climate crisis, however, last minute changes to the text tampered its effectiveness. Even with this new round of agreements and announcements, much more action is surely needed to get the world on a safe pathway towards a stable and just planet,” said Michael Green, ASBC’s Climate and Energy Working Group Chair, who has been in Glasgow as a part of the U.S. representation. “ASBC will continue to push for more ambitious action that meets the moment and builds a just and stable economy for the U.S. and rest of the world for future generations,” he continued. 

Our key observations include: 

  • The current pledges come up short of the Paris Agreement target to limit warming to 1.5C. This means that not only do countries need to meet their commitments already on the table - they must deliver more in the coming year.  
  • The climate pledges made in Glasgow moved us in the right direction, but the gap between current efforts and what climate science demands is still too wide. 
  • Last-minute changes to the negotiating text further weakened the final agreement in Glasgow. In the final plenary push, several countries stood in the way of what could have been an ambitious step forward. 

The U.S. return to the global climate stage helped raise ambition on cutting emissions but did not stand up for key demands from poorer countries. To regain trust as a leader, the U.S. must deliver even more effective policies at home and increase support for developing countries abroad.  

The graveness of these interventions was clearly felt by the COP President, Alok Sharma, who had to hold back tears as he continued with the meeting. “If it is a good negotiation, all the parties are uncomfortable,” U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry told the plenary. “This has been, I think, a good negotiation.” 

“We had the opportunity to see the strong return of the U.S. to the COP and the official announcement by the Deputy Secretary of Energy for more investments into decarbonization which will accelerate the pace away from carbon and towards a sustainable future,” said ASBC Member Fran Benedito, CEO of Climate Trade.  

COP26 attendee and ASBC member Kayalin Akins-Irby of Planet Forward had this to say, “By creating more transparency this system can incentivize companies to reduce emissions by creating competition.” Kayalin continued, “My experience at COP has been extremely fruitful and the conversations here will continue after Glasgow.” 

The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) is a partner to businesses and the investor community to bring collective wisdom and public policy solutions to the systemic issues negatively impacting our society and planet. Founded through the merger of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC), ASBN rejects short-term thinking narrowly focused on just shareholder value in favor of a capitalism based on creating long-term value and being accountable to all stakeholders: owners, workers, families, community, environment, state, nation, and world. As a multi-issue, membership organization advocating on behalf of every business sector, size, and geography, ASBN and its association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks.