COP26: what to look out for at the UN Climate Conference

Glasgow hosts COP26 this year in November

The history of COP26

Back in 1992, 154 of our nation's leaders came together to create the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to support global efforts to combat climate change. After the UNFCCC officially entered into force in 1994, the Parties to the Convention have met every year in the COP (read: Conference of the Parties) to monitor the efforts of each nation.  The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and the COP26 in Glasgow is this year's meeting. 

The 2015 conference, COP21, created the landmark treaty also known as the Paris Agreement. This agreement, signed by 197 parties and ratified by 191,  sets out to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The COP26 is highly anticipated because it is regarded as the successor to COP21 that should review what has and has not been achieved since the historic Paris Agreement and set concrete plans for how  to finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’.

This year's COP26 is held in Glasgow.

This year's COP26 is held in Glasgow.

COP26 Themes

There are four COP26 themes that the summit will debate to review and promote the effective implementation of the Convention.  After the Paris Agreement, the pressure is on to reach another historic agreement.

  • Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach - countries will be asked to put forward their 2030 targets to keep within reach of net zero by the middle of the century.
  • Protect communities and natural habitats - there is already evidence of adverse weather conditions due to climate change so nations will need to show that they’re putting the necessary protections and adaptation measures in place to minimise the damage to ecosystems,livelihoods and lives.
  • Mobilise finance - to make sure the first two COP26 themes are met, developed countries need to mobilise $100 billion per year in order to secure global net zero.
  • Work together - the only way out of the climate crisis is if every nation fully commits to the cause. Finalisations need to be made to the Paris Rulebook so every nation is aligned. 

COP26 Agenda

The COP26 summit is a two week  event and the agenda goes as follows:

  • 1st & 2nd November - World Leaders Summit where the COP26 themes of securing global net zero, protecting communities & habitats and mobilising finance will be outlined. 
  • 3rd November - the focus will be on mobilising public and private finance  at scale for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • 4th November - this day will be all about accelerating the global transition to green energy. 
  • 5th November - Youth and Public Empowerment, which will be about elevating the voice of young people and demonstrating the critical role of public empowerment and education in climate action 
  • 6th November - on this day,  the focus will be on the importance of nature and sustainable land use as part of global climate action 
  • 8th November - here, discussions will center on practical solutions needed for climate change adaptation.
  • 9th November - Gender & Science and Innovation: the focus will be on gender equality and the participation of women and girls in climate action, as well as on demonstrating the importance of science and innovation in tackling climate change. 
  • 10th November - here, the discussions will center on how to drive the global transition to zero emission transport. 
  • 11th November - this day about Cities, Regions & Built Environment will focus on how we can advance action, starting from the communities we live in to entire cities and regions. 

Immediate climate action

In order to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°, as outlined by the Paris Agreement, carbon dioxide removal solutions such as direct air capture are needed in addition to emissions reduction efforts. If carbon dioxide removal solutions are not implemented at a large scale, the 1.5° goal may be out of reach. By becoming a Pioneer, you can enable the removal of your personal emissions and support Climeworks in further developing and scaling its direct air capture technology. COP26 may be a few days away but you can already take climate action now!

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