Recap and Reflections from COP26

November 23, 2021



NCEL Point of Contact

Taylor Anderson
Communications Director


Earlier this month, the eyes of the world were on world leaders in Glasgow for COP26. Leading up to the conference, state legislators came together calling for the federal government to make stronger climate commitments to achieve full decarbonization and limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Despite the calls for strong action, the outcomes of COP26 fell short. However, the agreements left 1.5 degrees warming within reach if strong action is taken at COP27 next year.

Below is a look at the outcomes of COP26, state actions while in Glasgow, and a look ahead to COP27.

Outcomes of COP26

  • Glasgow Climate Pact – The Pact for the first time mentioned reducing fossil fuels. It calls on countries to phase down coal. The Pact originally used the words “phase out,” but was changed to “phase down” as a last-minute change. The Pact also calls on wealthy countries to at least double financing for adaptation efforts in the developing countries.
  • US-China Pledge – Commitment from the world’s two largest emitters to take “enhanced” action to meet the central goals of the Paris climate agreement. While the agreement is lacking specifics, it is a significant partnership that could lead to stronger commitments at COP27.
  • Deforestation Pledge – The pledge was signed by 141 countries, encompassing 91% percent of the Earth’s forests, to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.
  • Methane Pledge – More than 100 countries join U.S. and EU coalition to reduce methane emissions 30% by 2030

States Play a Crucial Role in Upholding These Commitments

Many of the pledges may be short on specifics, but US states can work from the ground up to follow through on these commitments by passing bold, equitable, and enforceable climate legislation. 

For years, states have been the leaders on US climate action, passing ambitious bills that move the country forward and can serve as a road map. The message from states is clear — they are moving forward on climate action with or without the federal government.


For the first time, NCEL brought a delegation of legislators to Glasgow. The delegation participated in six events and brought the story of state climate action to the international stage. 

Prior to COP26, 537 state legislators from 47 states and territories sent a letter requesting that the federal government make a commitment to full decarbonization by 2050 at COP26. 

This was followed by op-eds in 15 states urging strong federal action.

In Glasgow, the NCEL delegation participated in 6 events covering topics such as ocean climate policy, environmental justice, carbon pricing, and local climate solutions.

Looking Ahead to COP27

COP27 will be a defining moment for countries around the world to make commitments to decarbonize and hold warming to 1.5 degrees. It’s not just about the commitments though. There also must be follow-through and implementation of commitments.

States will continue to hold the federal government accountable for promises made and will continue to push bold climate policies forward during the 2022 legislative session.

NCEL will bring a delegation to COP27 to continue the emphasis on the commitment and action from states. We look forward to seeing what ambitious steps states take in 2022 and are hopeful for strong outcomes in Egypt.