The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), dually hosted by the UK and Italy, will commence in Glasgow on the 31st of October 2021.
COP26 will serve as an opportunity for world leaders to meet in order to finalise the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement in the fight against climate change. Each country will present their renewed commitment to reduce emissions, in line with Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The 2015 Paris agreement is the largest combined global effort to establish a unanimous plan for the defence of the environment against anthropomorphic activities. As part of that plan, national bodies agreed to confer once every 5 years to communicate the progression of NDCs, and to renew their commitment to change. The first of these meetings was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so has been rescheduled to October 2021.
COP26 has 4 main goals:
- Secure global net-zero emissions by mid century, limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
- Adapt current practices to protect communities and ecosystems.
- Mobilise finance from both public and private bodies to raise a target $100bn in climate finance each year.
- Communicate and cooperate as a global community with a common goal.
The potential for progress at COP26 is unparalleled. Limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees is a pivotal step in protecting communities and natural habitats from man made climate change. The safeguarding of freshwater resources is at the forefront of this perspective of protection, as countries fight the melting of polar ice caps, and the increase in frequency and severity of flooding worldwide.
However, many world leaders have expressed their concern about what the future holds. Alok Sharma, the president of COP26, has warned that the event will prove much more difficult than the Paris agreement in 2015, suggesting that cooperation and understanding amongst governments will be a fundamental challenge to overcome in order to ensure the completion of NDCs.
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- Cop26 Climate Deal Will Be Harder than Paris Accord, Admits Sharma | Cop26 | The Guardian Available online: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/23/cop26-climate-deal-harder-than-paris-accord-admits-alok-sharma (accessed on 27 October 2021).
- The Paris Agreement | UNFCCC Available online: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement (accessed on 27 October 2021).
- HOME – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 Available online: https://ukcop26.org/ (accessed on 27 October 2021).