When Verum looked at her corner of the Mystical dorm room, she saw a layer of dust had covered every surface. Even her crystal ball was quite dusty! She scratched her head and wondered where did all the dust come from? Just a few hours ago, everything had been squeaky clean.

There was only one thing to do. Verum groaned and gathered the supplies required to clean the room. She wiped the tables and window sills, brushed the curtains, and dusted the beds. By the end of it, beads of sweat peppered her face. But the room was clean again!

Just when she had sat down to rest, Verum noticed her crystal ball was making its familiar humming sound. It highlighted Glasgow, a city in Scotland, United Kingdom. She wondered out loud, “What happened in Glasgow?”

Felix, who had just entered the room, said, “The COP26 Summit!”

 The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, better known as COP26, is a two-week conference, with almost 200 countries participating to discuss, share ideas and negotiate global warming issues.

“Of course!” said Verum, “My crystal ball tells me that the summit led to the adoption of an agreement called the Glasgow Climate Pact. It covers various measures to be undertaken against climate change such as controlling methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps the sun’s heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.”

“That’s good,” replied Felix, “One of the main points is how to keep the global temperatures from rising by over 1.5 degrees in this century. Was any strong action taken to meet this goal?”

“Well, critics have called out the pact and said it is ‘weaker-than-expected’. According to them, it won’t help in meeting this goal,” said Verum, “However, scientists claim it would at least help limit the worst impacts of climate change.”

She added, “But the part of the agreement that stood out was the mention of coal.”

“Coal?” prompted Felix.

“In the conference, countries were asked to reduce the use of coal as a fuel and abolish the ineffective subsidies (economic concessions) on fossil fuels,” said Verum, “The original agreement was to ‘phase out’ the use of coal. But a group of countries led by India and China intervened and demanded ‘phase out’ be replaced with ‘phase down’. This was granted.”

“But that makes the treaty weaker!” said Felix.

“Nonetheless, it keeps the 1.5 degrees goal within humanity’s reach,” said Verum.