What is COP26 and when does this “ambitious” global event on climate change begin?
A slew of extreme weather this year adds intensity to what some have called the most ambitious, and perhaps the most critical, convergence of global powers to discuss climate change in decades.
Seasonal storms, even dangerous ones, are expected, but it is the intensity and frequency of such events, and certain geographic surprises, that lead scientists to blame climate change and a warmer planet.
It will only heat up. On the current trajectory, by 2030, the world will spit up to 28 billion metric tons (31 billion US tons) of greenhouse gases that warm the Earth beyond the amount that would keep the planet at or below the strictest limit set at one Paris, the United Nations calculated this week.
It is in this context that the next chapter in trying to adapt and slow climate change begins, organized by a special branch of the United Nations.
What is this great UN gathering about?
This weekend begins the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), which runs until 12 November. It is the annual United Nations meeting of the 197 countries that have agreed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the meeting is the decision-making body of the countries that have adhered to the United Nations Framework there are decades. It is organized to assess how well nations are dealing with climate change.
The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995. COP21 in Paris six years ago was a key moment for the Paris Agreement. From there, the COP meetings are essentially a monitoring of progress from Paris. The last meeting was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to COVID-19.
What is the point ?
The overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius due to climate change. By burning BRN00 fossil fuels,
which add carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases to the atmosphere, Earth’s temperature has already risen by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.1 degrees Celsius.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as host, released an explanatory statement detailing four goals of COP26:
Countries put forward “ambitious” targets for 2030 for [cutting] carbon emissions that are on track to reach net zero by mid-century.
Critical discussion on accelerating adaptation measures to protect communities, infrastructure and natural habitats.
A plan to encourage developed countries to keep their promises to raise at least $ 100 billion in climate finance a year. International financial institutions will have to play a key role in this effort.
Finalize the Paris Rulebook (the rules that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement)
Who are the most important participants?
About 20,000 people will attend the official talks. They include government officials, scientists and policy experts.
US President Joe Biden will be present on November 1-2, during the World Leader Summit portion of the meeting.
Biden arrives with the latest advances in his domestic climate change policy still uncertain as he waits for Congress to pass simplified cleaner energy bills and other agendas. Although Biden has pledged the United States to halve its emissions by 2030 and says a series of initiatives can get the country there, legislative uncertainty leaves U.S. leader open to scrutiny up close by its global counterparts. Read the president’s latest proposals.
Along with hundreds of world political leaders, other well-known names are planning to attend. Queen Elizabeth had planned to attend, but will stay home under a medical directive to rest. Prince Charles and Camilla and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, will attend the welcome in Glasgow. Pope Francis plans to attend, depending on his state of health.
Broadcaster, filmmaker and climate activist David Attenborough will be on hand. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg plans to attend demonstrations on site during COP26. A climate rally scheduled for November 6 is expected to draw up to 150,000 people.
Read: Each whale is worth $ 2 million? Why it’s time to add the value of nature to GDP
And who doesn’t go?
Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the event, disappointing Johnson and others. A Kremlin spokesman said climate change remained a foreign policy priority. Russia is the world’s second largest producer of natural gas behind the United States
Read: Johnson of UK seeks ‘G-20 rebound’ for key climate conference
Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with world leaders at the climate summit via video link. China officially submitted its climate targets on Thursday, committing to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieve “carbon neutrality,” or use forests and other measures to absorb as much carbon as possible. ‘it emits, by 2060.
The document included goals previously announced by Xi but did not set any additional goals.
China is the world’s biggest polluter; followed by the United States and India.
What are they saying?
The world “is still heading towards climate catastrophe,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday, even after some countries updated their emissions commitments. “There is a serious risk that Glasgow will not deliver.”
“Glasgow has already sparked more climate ambition than the world has ever seen,” said John Kerry, US climate envoy, speaking at an event at the London School of Economics this week. “And in that regard, Glasgow has succeeded.”
On Earth’s Last Day, Kerry called COP26 the world’s “last and best hope” for solving the climate crisis.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are wondering if we’re really going to improve. There are a lot of things that can go wrong even with having the right people in the room. I think we’re starting to see a lot of good commitments from other countries. The United States could reach net zero, for the sake of debate, tomorrow, and that still only represents 11% of global emissions. We also care about the remaining 89%, ”said Heather Reams, executive director of US-based Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). Reams will attend COP26 with a delegation of Republican lawmakers, including Representatives Garret Graves, of Louisiana, and John Curtis, of Utah.
“I think we could get low cost engagements [on emissions cuts] it will go in the right direction, but not meet what we will ultimately need on a timescale that many would like. The reality is that a global commitment, because of its size, is difficult to make, ”said Joshua Kendall, who leads responsible investing practice for Insight Investments in the UK. “This could possibly mean that we get a bifurcation in international politics, a two-way system in which those who do like the EU and the UK are one way, but there are a large chunk of other contributors. , but who say we have other priorities. It’s unfortunate that this can happen, but a stopgap solution, and can also create more traction with investors. “
“Everything is at stake if the leaders do not take climate action,” Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate said. “We cannot eat charcoal. We cannot drink petroleum and we cannot breathe so-called natural gas. “
New analysis from the World Resources Institute and Climate Analytics shows that China has the potential to close 25% of the global gap between countries’ current climate commitments and the emission reductions needed to maintain the temperature limit of 1 , 5 ° C of the Paris Agreement within reach, “said Helen Mountford, vice president, climate and economy, at the World Resources Institute. “If the world is to have a chance at tackling the climate crisis, China – along with all other major emitters – must take small, giant steps towards a cleaner, more secure future. “
The Associated Press contributed.