The COP26 summit held in Glasgow could not come at a more crucial time, as participating countries are set to finalise their national action plans to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
On August 6, 2021, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Sixth Assessment Report, considered to be the most important scientific report about climate change produced worldwide.
The alarming report exposed multiple lines of evidence that indicated the unprecedented nature of recent large-scale climatic changes in the context of all human history.
As a consequence, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, will welcome world leaders, ministers, and other high-level officials including The Queen, to discuss climate issues.
The conference, which takes place from October 31, 2021 until November 12, 2021, includes multiple events that attract people from the business sector, fossil fuel companies, climate activists and more.
The 2015 Paris Agreement required Parties to help limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but preferably to 1.5 degrees.
This year, the COP26 could not have come at a more crucial time.
What will happen at COP26?
The official website for the COP26 has underlined four key points to be addressed during the meetings:
1. Securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach.
With this in mind, countries will be asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.
AFP via Getty Images)
To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:
accelerate the phase-out of coal
speed up the switch to electric vehicles
encourage investment in renewables.
2. Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats.
This will mean Parties will need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:
protect and restore ecosystems
build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives
3. Mobilising finance in order to deliver the COP26’s first two goals.
This will mean that developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.
4. Parties will be required to work together to rise to the challenges of the climate crisis.
They will therefore:
finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
Why does COP26 matter?
The world is now facing unprecedented dangers related to climate change, such as floods, storms, and other environmental hazards.
Furthermore, the IPCC gathered the observations of scientists who have confirmed that the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, was directly affected by human’s activity, leading to continued sea level rise.
Nevertheless, the IPCC has also revealed that strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.
At the COP26, participating Parties are due to finalise their national action plans to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement, and therefore limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels to curb the climate crisis.
According to Friends of the Earth (FOE), this year’s COP26, which was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, is a “vital” event because the “window of opportunity to remain under that crucial 1.5 degrees of planetary warming is getting smaller and smaller with each passing year”.
FOE’s director of campaigning impact, Jamie Peters, told Sky News: “It’s particularly important to the UK because, as host, all eyes will be looking at what the UK is actually doing,rather than what it says.
“As one of the nations most responsible for climate change, due to historic pollution, there will be a world focus on the UK’s role in responding to it – as well as how these talks are chaired.”
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference will take place at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.
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