María Mendiluce on keeping 1.5C alive and achieving global carbon market deal at COP26

EXCLUSIVE: The chief executive of the We Mean Business Coalition has told edie that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C is 'alive, but in intensive care' and that world leaders must 'get their act together' to unlock Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.


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Speaking to edie’s content director Luke Nicholls at the Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership within the COP26 Blue Zone this morning (9 November), Mendiluce said she was generally feeling positive about the announcements made at the climate summit so far, but that more progress needs to be seen around international carbon trading. 

“We came to COP wanting to keep 1.5C alive – it’s in intensive care, but it’s alive,” Mendiluce said. “The IEA has estimated that we’re at around 1.8C, which is really good process since the Paris Agreement [signed in 2015].

“The NDCs [Nationally Determined Contributions to tackle climate change] are not where we want them to be. But now, the conversations are about having a ‘ratchet’ mechanism every year instead of every five years – that’s really positive. 

“In this second week, the thing that’s very important is the global carbon markets and Article 6. It is about time that governments get their act together and come up with a solid agreement on how this carbon market is going to play out.

“We hope this will be the COP that will create a global carbon market where countries can connect and reduce emissions with very clear rules that are very much needed.”

Mendiluce, who also sits on the senior management team of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), went on to discuss the importance of a ‘just transition’ towards net-zero carbon emissions, stating that “governments need to invest in giving vulnerable communities better access [to clean technologies] so that they are not being hit by a transition that is not affordable to them”. 

Mendiluce has over 20 years’ experience in sustainable development, energy and climate action. She formally adopted the role of chief executive of the We Mean Business Coalition in May 2020.


edie at COP26

Want more exclusive content from inside COP26? Hosted in association with our headline COP26 content partner O2, edie is running a daily podcast show, featuring exclusive interviews with some of sustainability’s leading lights. Check out the COP26 Covered podcast here.

We’re also providing regular, live updates of all the major announcements. From rousing speeches to official climate plans, our COP26 Live Blog gives you everything you need to know about each day at the Summit.

View all of edie’s COP26 content here.


Luke Nicholls

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