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COP26 – What you need to know

 

Yesterday in Glasgow, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) commenced. Over 25,000 delegates from 200 countries are attending, with the aim to negotiate climate actions and ultimately limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

There are four key goals for COP26, covering mitigation, adaptation, finance, and collaboration:

 

Goal One: Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

In order to get the world back on track for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, countries will need to halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. Countries have been asked to update their 2030 targets prior to the conference to align with these goals.

 

Goal Two: Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

Climate change is already devastating habitats and communities globally, and this will continue to worsen even as emissions are reduced. The aim of this goal is to encourage countries to better protect and restore their ecosystems and to build defences, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods, and lives.

 

Goal Three: Mobilise finance

The first two goals cannot be met without the mobilisation of at least $100bn in climate finance per year, by 2020. Reports indicate that this goal could slip to 2023, as many of the wealthy countries who pledged to this in 2009 are yet to fully comply. International financial institutions are also encouraged to play their part in the mobilisation of climate finance.

 

Goal Four: Work together to deliver

The focus of this goal is to finalise the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement, called the Paris Rulebook, and to work together to turn ambition into action. To do this, the conference attendees must:

 

1: Find a solution on carbon markets, by creating a robust system of carbon credits that supports the move to net zero.

2: Resolve the issues of transparency, by putting in place a universal system that encourages all countries to keep to their commitments.

3: Broker an agreement that drives ambition from governments over the coming years to keep 1.5 degrees alive. (UK COP26)

 

At ESI Monitor, we are hopeful that COP26 will lead to fast and substantive changes in global emissions. As a planet, we do not have time for another conference where leaders talk about action, but fail to put their plans into practice.

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