The Ins and Outs of Cop26

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naeem-ali
13 Nov 2021

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It’s finally here. No not the 2026 FIFA World Cup, although that doesn’t sound too bad. COP26 is finally here. But what is it?  

In this article, you’ll what COP26 is, why it matters, and what it means for you and future generations. Let’s go.   

What Is COP26?   

COP26 is the 26th annual UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) where political leaders and UN members states addressed climate change on a global level.   

The UNFCCC has happened every year since 1995, but was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  

It has resumed this year in Glasgow from October 31st – November 12. The goal is to limit global heating to within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels.   

 What Happened in the First Week of Talks?   

There’s a lot to unpack on what happened in the first week of COP26.   

Firstly, COP26 People’s Advocate, Sir David Attenborough proposed replacing fossil fuels with green energy

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson argued that the private sector must help finance sustainable energy sources.   

More than 100 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge, giving $328m to methane mitigation strategies.   

Approximately 100,000 protesters marched through Glasgow, with another 250 protests continuing worldwide, including cities like Sydney, Istanbul and Paris.   

What Happened in the Second Week of Talks?    

The first draft of the final agreement in the climate summit texts finally mentions fossil fuels. However, the goal of limiting global heating within 1.5°C was ambitious. Instead, leaders are now committed to limiting levels within 2.4°C.   

The US and China, the world’s two biggest emitters of climate change, unveiled a joint declaration that aims to illuminate long term plans concerning net-zero concrete action. 

There was also an agreement from countries that hold over 85% of the world’s woodland to end deforestation by 2030.   

On Thursday 11th November, UN chief António Guterres said, “We cannot settle for the lowest common denominator.”  

What Next?  

Some see these goals as ambitious, but others, like protesters and climate activists, see these goals as not ambitious enough.  

Richer countries tend to share more moral responsibility when it comes to climate change as they are the big emitters. However, this often means poor countries are left out and lack the finical support to enact change when the latter relies heavily on fossil fuels and the like.  

COP26 is a brilliant way to bridge science into political action. However, only time will tell (if there’s any time left at all), of whether political leaders heed the scientific community.   

  

  

  

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