What can we we do to make sure that countries follow all the commitments they sign up to at COP26?

The simple answer is "we can't", according to Emeritus Professor John Sweeney from Maynooth University.

"We know from the way that many of the pledges are couched, that many countries couch their commitments in terms of get out of jail free cards," he said.

"This is something that the Paris Agreements permits at the moment and it’s something that doesn’t enable implementation to be monitored and verified."

He said the Paris Agreement is an international treaty and "countries shouldn’t be able to welch out of something that they signed up to," but he said one does not need to look further than the host country, the UK to see that countries do not always live up to those agreements.

Prof Sweeney said he expects the talks will run overtime as they have done in previous COP climate summits, adding that "to try and get 196 countries to agree on something is no small feat".

"One has to start off being a little pessimistic about that, as these countries all have different agendas, and attitudes and to be truthful there are countries here who don’t want to crack the problem of climate change in a hurry."

Prof Sweeney, who is a COP veteran, says the negotiators or country officials are getting into the "nitty-gritty" of the agreement as we approach the second half of the second week.

"Generally, decisions are not made until the middle of the second week, when the Ministers (for the Environment) arrive."

Prof Sweeney said that last week was very typical "in that nothing earth shattering had been decided."

"We’re all waiting for the big bangs to happen this week, towards the middle and end of this week."

He says the pressure is on - "this is a crucial conference, we are running out of time to, and we know we only have a limited carbon budget left to burn."

"It’s essential we get on target to keeping warming to 1.5 degrees this week."