COP26 – So is it “too late” (to stop dangerous climate change)?

Just over two years ago, in October 2019, WIREs Climate Change published an on-line special collection of nine opinion articles from hand-picked scholars around the world who each, in their own way, answered the question ‘Is it too late (to stop dangerous climate change)?’

These perspectives on what it might mean to be “too late” are very much worth reading again, with the meaning of the Glasgow Climate Pact now being interpreted in various ways.

You can also read here my editorial as Editor-in-Chief which introduces this special collection, published on the 26 October 2021. I concluded this editorial thus, still very apt today after the dust settles from COP26 …

A focus on the numbers alone merely “creates incentives for gaming pledges,” as Dubash (2020, p. 1) puts it. For all of the authors in this WIREs Special Collection, how one gets there matters more, and for some authors much more, than merely getting there. Means do matter more than ends. Or putting this differently, there are some futures beyond 1.5C (or even 2C) that are more desirable than other futures which do not exceed these warming thresholds. We should not mistake one set for the other.”

Mike Hulme, 15 November 2021