COP26 (Conference of the Parties) summits have been held annually since 1995 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Each year a different country hosts diplomats and leaders from 197 countries. At the heart of these meetings are negotiations on the legal mechanisms by which countries can be held accountable for their commitments to climate protection and greenhouse gas reduction. This year the conference is hosted by the United Kingdom: COP26 will take place from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow. It is estimated that about 20,000 people will attend the summit.
The aim of the Glasgow summit is to combine efforts so as to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The conference agenda includes four main priorities to limit the global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C. What are the main points that will be discussed?
First: emissions reductions. The conference is expected to unveil plans to reduce emissions by 2030 to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Among the guidelines that have been identified by COP26 is to accelerate the phase-out of coal, reduce deforestation, accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and invest in renewable energy sources. These points will definitely be negotiated.
It took months to work out the stand of the Council of the European Union but finally 30 crucial points were defined. They will be presented by a delegation including the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Janša, representing the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council.
Second: the protection of nature and people. The aim of COP26 is to bring about agreements related to the protection of communities and natural habitats. This includes protecting and restoring ecosystems, as well as building infrastructure that is resilient to the effects of climate change.
Third: to mobilize much more funding for climate protection. The assumptions of COP26 state that in order to effectively implement the first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to mobilize at least $100 billion a year in climate finance. COP26 is expected to result in the creation of a system for financing pro-climate economies and social change, as well as innovation from the private sector related to environmental protection.
Fourth: global cooperation to meet challenges. During COP26, the diplomats will finalize the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP21.
– COP26 must be the moment that the world comes together to deliver decisive action to protect our planet. During COP26 we want to inspire faster, more ambitious action from all countries, and all of societies that will help us keep alive the crucial Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C alive. Our programme of themed days is aimed at doing just that. From energy and innovation to adaptation and youth empowerment, I hope that our rich schedule of events will allow all participants to leave Glasgow with the drive and the sense of urgency needed to transform the way we inhabit our precious planet, and safeguard its future. We will be hearing from a diverse range of voices over the two weeks, which should allow us all to take inspiration from the very best of climate leadership around the world. The time for action is now. – wrote Alok Sharma, President of COP26.
The full programme of COP26 is available for download. Viewing the sessions online is possible for registered users. You can also read about the key findings on the TerGo blog!