Sustainability| 3 min read

Everything You Need To Know About COP26

What is it? Who will be there? What are the goals?
WRITTEN BY Mia McBryde

This Sunday October 31st – Friday November 12th is the 26th annual UN Climate Conference. This exciting moment in global climate planning will bring together 197 nations in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss goals and strategies to reduce carbon emissions, limit warming to 1.5 °C and adopt climate mitigation and adaptation techniques.

 

What is COP26?

COP is a United Nations Climate Conference that stands for the ‘Conference of Parties’. The conference is held every year and COP26 is the 26th annual UN climate summit. The last COP, COP25, took place in December 2019 in Madrid Spain. COP is a twelve day process of conversations between 197 nations that aims to reach agreement on the next steps to tackle climate change.

 

Where will COP26 take place?

COP26 will be taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow was chosen by the United Kingdom due to the city’s commitment to sustainability.

 

Who will be there?

COP26 will include leaders from 197 nations – including Canada, the United States and Australia to name a few. There will also be negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens.

 

COP26 and the Unique Urgency

This COP will give 197 countries a chance to update their plans to achieve goals related to the Paris Agreement and staying below 1.5 °C of warming.

What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding treaty on climate change that was adopted by 196 parties at COP21 in 2015. The agreement’s goal is to limit global warming to below 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement works in a 5 year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action. COP26 will be the first opportunity since the creation of the Paris Agreement for countries to update and modify their plans.

What is the 1.5 °C report?
In 2018, the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) created a special report explaining what the world will look like if global temperatures reach 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. In this report, they talk about what the risks and realities of living in a 1.5 °C society will look like, how we can mitigate climate change and patterns and practices for more sustainable development. This report encouraged an international goal to limit warming to below 2.0 °C, and ideally below 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. ​​In the most recent report published this year, the IPCC stated for the first time that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” With this statement, it’s clear that the need for action is more urgent than ever.

 

What are the goals?

  1. 1. Secure global net zero emissions by 2050 and keep the 1.5 °C goal within reach

How? Increasing renewable energy, reducing deforestation, accelerating the phase out of coal and shifting towards electric vehicles.

2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

How? Build defenses, warning systems and more resilient infrastructures and protect and restore ecosystems.

3. Mobilize finance

How? Having a budget of at least 100 billion in climate finance per year

4. Work together

How? Finalizing the Paris rule book and accelerate action through collaboration between governments, business and civilians.

Other priorities?

  • Creating rules for the transparent reporting of action and support
  • Building common timeframes for emission reduction commitments
  • Enabling enhanced adaptation action
  • Averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage
  • Responding to the latest science and the ambition of current emission reduction targets
  • Promoting fair and inclusive climate action
  • ​​Enabling ambition through carbon markets

World leaders are coming to COP26 with the common goal of tackling climate change, and we’re inspired to show up and do the same. Learn how we’re taking climate action and the important initiatives tentree’s involved in at COP26.

 

Common language and definitions

Adaptation : Shifting habits to live within an environment that has been altered by climate change
Mitigation : Actions to limit global warming and its related effects
Net Zero Emissions : All greenhouse gas emissions that are produced are offset by the emissions that are removed. Net zero is benchmarked against the 1.5°C pathway.
Renewable Energy : Energy that is collected from renewable resources which can be naturally replenished – including solar, geothermal, hydro-energy and wind energy

RESOURCES
https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement
https://ukcop26.org/uk-presidency/what-is-a-cop/

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