COP26 – What Is It And What Is Its Purpose?

COP26 - What Is It And What Is Its Purpose? - Carbon Herald

In a matter of days, starts an event considered the most important climate change conference since the Paris Agreement. Organizing this event is the United Nations – the biggest most familiar intergovernmental organization in the world. The event is COP26 which stands for “Conference of the Parties” – the 26th edition of the United Nations. 

The UN climate conference has been held every year since 1945 when it first took place in Berlin, to assess the progress in dealing with climate change. This year, COP26 will happen in Glasgow on October 31st till November 12th, 2021. 

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Unusually, COP climate conference gathers all the countries which are part of the UN’s climate change treaty, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The members are 197 and they are known as “parties” to the treaty. 

This year, more than 100 world leaders are expected to attend as well as more than 30,000 other participants like businesses, NGOs, environmental groups, climate activists and many more. There are also protests scheduled to take place throughout the country.

The main day of strikes is expected to happen on November 6th in Glasgow. It is named the Global Day for Climate Justice and would involve around 100 organizations and over 100,000 protesters. 

Relevant: University Of Edinburgh Offers CCS Online Course During COP26

The conference is coming after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its comprehensive assessment report about the state of scientific, technical, and socio-economic knowledge on climate change. It warned that global warming has become a “code red for humanity”, and climate change has never been a more urgent problem in the history of mankind.

Therefore, COP26 is not just another trivial event as global warming is no more a problem that politicians can afford to sweep under the rug. It is a global priority and a pressing threat to humanity that hides huge risks, yet to be evaluated and communicated to the public free in their true form. 

What Is The Goal Of COP26?

The major purpose of the conference is to accelerate actions for climate change mitigation that would ensure global net zero transition by mid-century and limit warming to up to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. 

The first goal is to facilitate countries to deliver on their promise to mobilize at least $100 billion every year by 2020 in climate finance for developing countries. The event will also aim to finalize the Paris Rulebook – the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational.  

The member countries will lay out their plans to reduce emissions as well as share their progress in adopting climate change mitigation measures. A form of an official binding declaration is expected to be achieved at the end of the conference. Every country will be required to sign up specific commitments.

Measurement Of Success

COP26 would be considered a success if nations announce strong statements that recommit to net zero emissions by 2050 – as well as big reductions by 2030. By far the biggest measurement of success would be if countries make a specific pledge and timeline for terminating coal power. 

Commitments to ending fossil fuels, and petrol cars with specific deadlines are also critical and would be considered a huge milestone. 

An outlined financial package for developing countries over the next five years from wealthier nations will be expected, so that they can receive help to adapt to rising temperatures and prevent the use of coal for the build-up of new power generation.

Anything short of these milestones is likely to be considered inadequate to keep the 1.5C goal alive. However, some scientists and activists believe world leaders have left it too late and no matter what is agreed at COP26, 1.5C will not be achieved.

Conclusion

COP26 is a historic event that would aim to determine the progress of governments in terms of tackling the climate crisis. It will discuss members’ current climate commitments and it will likely focus on whether they are enough to halt dangerous temperature rises and get the world on track to reaching net zero as soon as possible.

It is a well-known fact that political and private interests are intertwined in the core of the fossil fuels industry so governments by status quo are inclined to postpone bold climate change actions and implement the needed climate change policies to actually limit global warming below 1.5 degrees.

Relevant: Leak Uncovers Countries Lobbying Against Fossil Fuels Reduction

However, as the world can no longer wait and societies around the world are already suffering some of the worst consequences like no food, floods, wildfires, and droughts, politicians must feel the pressure to fulfill their critical part in eliminating those threats.

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