So you have probably seen COP26 everywhere from your tv screens to your local newspapers.
What does COP26 mean?
It may sound like another sport tournament like Euros 94 but it’s is actually The 26th Conference of the Parties(COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or put shortly the UN climate change conference.
Why is the COP26 conference special?
Well, it is because it is the first time in a while that world leaders are expected to commit to agreements.
This year (2021) the conference is being held in Glasgow. The last conference, COP25 was held in Spain back in 2019 and it is where Greta Thunberg gave her infamous speech.
Why is the COP conference needed?
For some time now we have been emitting loads of gas especially from fossil fuels are making our earth heat up and become warmer. This means that as the earth becomes warmer things like our icebergs start to melt which then raises sea levels. We are witnessing extreme weather conditions which have been made worse because of the change in climate and over the past few years we have seen some of the hottest temperatures on record.
What is on the agenda at COP26 2021?
Our world leaders come together for 2 weeks starting from 31st October until 12 November to talk about our current situation with regards to the climate. It has been called ‘humanity's last opportunity’ to agree on emission reduction targets to save us from global catastrophe.
There are 4 specific goals of COP26.
Have we not already committed to climate targets before?
As we mentioned earlier the last time we had committed to a climate target was at the COP21 back in 2015 in Paris. Many nations signed to commit to keeping global temperature rises below 2c and limiting global heating to 1.5c.
This came with a really big catch.
Although the targets of COP21 were legally binding it was up to the individual countries to set out their own nonbinding targets for emission reductions. These were none as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These NDCs take together the efforts of each country to reduce emissions.
The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) required each Nation to prepare and communicate nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve.
As you could imagine most nations set themselves targets that have not been enough to stop climate change.
What targets are needed for COP26?
Top scientists have said that global human-caused emissions must reduce by at least 45% by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Do poorer countries also have to set targets at COP26?
The sad reality is that poor developing countries pollute the least and have hardly contributed the past emissions. With this said it is the poorer countries that are the worst affected by climate change. These countries need help and money from developed countries to help reduce their emissions and cope with climate change.
What can we do to help reduce emissions?
Spread the word regarding the COP26 climate change conference and propose to even our local leaders to invest in nature-based solutions while there is still time.