What is the Conference of Parties (COP 26), and why is it important?

COP 26

When one talks about COP 26, we understand that it is one of the decision-making agents that monitors and reviews whether the proposed actions by UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) have been implemented.

COP is considered vital among numerous conferences since it relates to the effects of climate change and the countries’ target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Till now, 25 COPs have been carried out. Now it’s the turn of COP 26 to go on the way.

Those countries who are members of UNFCCC, founded in 1994, can be a member of COP. COP summits are targeted to minimize the effects of climate change, one of the dire issues in the present context.

In the COP, each country participates by submitting its emission inventories. Based on the submission, COP reviews all the checklists and the national communication, making decisions based on it. 

Various countries have signed COP 26 throughout the globe. In total, 197 countries have agreed to implement the decision made by UNFCCC, where the aim is to lessen the emissions of greenhouse gases and tackle the effects of climate change.

All participating countries get together and negotiate to mitigate the effects resulting from climate change. It’s noticeable that climate change has created an influence on a wide array of sectors. 

Thus, it is very crucial to come together and get a discussion on a serious topic. It is the global platform where world climate leaders are joined together to tackle climate crisis issues.

Schedule of COP26

COP president - COP 26
COP 26 President Alok Sharma (source)

COP 26 was scheduled in the previous year, but due to the pandemic of COVID-19, it was postponed to 2021. The event is to be held from 31 October to 12 November, hosted by the UK government in Glasgow with the partnership of Italy. 

The politician of Britain, Alok Sharma, will be represented as the President of the COP summit. He will be involved in the opening and closing of the ceremony, managing the order of the speakers.

Likewise, it is expected that Joe Biden, the current President of the United States, and the climate change activist Greta Thunberg, will join the conference. Their attempts to join the discussion and actions in minimizing the effects of climate change look pretty excellent.

The COP 26 targets all the richer and the poorer, developed and the developing countries, thereby demanding global attention regarding the halt of climate change. 

Since this international conference brings all the climatic leaders into one platform, we expect solutions regarding reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. 

Agendas for COP 26

Despite the Paris agreement being set up in the COP, 2015, it did not function enough to reduce the effects of climate change. Thus, COP 26 is the one that aims to revise the treaties and the agreements made so far. 

Although every country has set a target to minimize the effects of climate change, it is believed that this is the last COP where there is little hope of limiting the Earth’s temperature to 1.5o Celsius.

In the two weeks duration of COP 26, approximately 30,000 representatives from various countries are expected to attend COP 26, which entails the stakeholders such as policymakers, climate change investors, scientists, negotiators, and activists. 

The two zones will be managed during the summit; the blue zone is prioritized for official negotiations and assessment. The other is the green zone, the area provided to the general public.

The green area aims to create awareness of climate change through several workshops, discussion groups, climate change, and exhibitions. 

Even a tiny initiation can bring a considerable alteration in mitigating the effects of climate change. Thus, the presentations and workshops being targeted so far can signify the role of nations in combating the climate change crisis.

Importance of COP 26

GHGs emission - COP 26
Regional GreenHouse Gas emission from 1990 – 2018 (source)

In COP 26, 2021, every country under UNFCCC will present its plans to reduce fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy. 

The UK government supports the party leaders of each country to discuss various topics such as nature protection and the financial investment needed to halt the effects of climate change and the shifting of renewable energy. 

During the Paris agreement, a critical decision was that the prosperous countries would provide funding to the poorer ones to reduce the emissions.

In this agreement, every leader of the nations had aimed to limit the Earth’s temperature rise by 1.5o C. It seems that this topic will be one to be discussed in COP 26 held in the United Kingdom.

Despite establishing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in 2015, the promised agreements to reduce carbon emissions in various sectors did not come into reality.  

But still, there is hope in COP 26 that these agreements will be targeted and discussed. Therefore, this COP 26 is vital in limiting the Earth’s temperature in every country and minimizing the effects of climate change.

The COP seems vital since every country will present their plans and the targets that the Paris agreement did not appear. 

The United Kingdom has announced that by 2050 the country will become carbon neutral and ban modern petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to reach environmentally friendly alternative measures.   

Once implemented in success, such commitment can definitely with no doubt activate the targeted plans and aims of the Paris agreement. 

The COP 26 is very significant because it has covered various aims and targets that would undoubtedly support talking about the climate crisis. 

The countries in the Paris agreement launched in 2015 during COP 21 have set to ensure the global net-zero by the mid-century and limit the Earth’s temperature below 1.5o C.

For these, it seems crucial that the country’s shift in renewable energy, massive investment in environment-friendly brands, and the concepts minimize the rapid use of coals and halt deforestation. 

The other aim is finance mobilization, where the targeted and the member countries of COP need to mobilize climate finance by at least $100bn per year by 2020.

For this, the international finance institution can lead a significant role through both the private and the public sectors. 

Once these targets are fulfilled as per commitment, the COP 26 can assist a lot in combating the climate change issues and tackling the climate crisis for the long term. For this, the Paris rulebook is a must.

Failure of the Paris agreement, 2015

paris agreement - COP 26
Paris agreement illustration during COP21 (source)

It’s evident that due to the rapid increase in urbanization and industrialization, the world has become narrower day by day. 

The glaciers are melting, the ocean acidification and the bleaching of the coral reefs have reflected the severe impacts of the climate change-induced effects. 

Rising sea level, an increase in the level of CO2, melting of the permafrost, and unexpected changing patterns of the temperature and the precipitation has reminded us of the anthropogenic induced severe activities. 

The poorer and the underdeveloped countries have emitted fewer greenhouse gases than the developed countries. 

For the poorer countries, climate funding always becomes crucial to shift towards cleaner and green technology. But the developed countries are behind in providing climate funding. This inadequacy has failed the negotiations and breakage of the promises made in the Paris agreement and the earlier COPs.

Without climatic funding, the poorer countries may not achieve cleaner technology and cope with climate change effects. 

Since the more inferior and underdeveloped countries still rely on fossil fuels today, they have become the victims of the worst effects of the climate change crisis. 

Lots of debate is on the way when it comes to tackling the issues of carbon emissions. The COP 25 targeted to cut off carbon emissions throughout the globe. From the sense of such a view, COP 26 remains to be very crucial.

Now the time has reached for the world’s climatic leaders to get together and negotiate the hot issues of the present context. 

It has been revealed that the Paris agreement committed that the developed countries will provide $100 billion per year in climate funds to the poorer countries by 2020. 

Since it did not fulfill the promise, COP 26 may be a huge platform to talk on those severe topics and invest more in climate finance. 

This COP will be a genuine opportunity to review the progress made by the countries to tackle the issues regarding climate change.

Expectation from COP 26

Since the COP 26 is inferred as the most significant climatic movement after the Paris agreement in 2015 and the most prominent climate summit. 

It is expected that this conference will try to address the issues of climatic funding to the poor and developing countries. 

The negotiations have been failed by the environmentalists and the world’s top climatic leaders. Still, the nations are not able to cut off the level of greenhouse gas emissions. 

COP 26 is expected to address all the issues to minimize carbon emissions and shift towards alternative energy.

Conclusion

Every country is suffering from climatic change issues. Since COP 26 is on the way, we believe that it will address all the problems to tackle the effects of climate change.

The developed countries are highly responsible for the climate crisis. Even the poorer countries are becoming the victims of such dire issues. 

Therefore, it must provide adequate climate funding to the developing countries to shift towards cleaner and greener technology from fossil fuel life. 

Once it is implemented as per the commitment, it meets the attention of the Paris agreement, which has been the topic of utmost necessity. It seems that switching to alternative energy can be the best option if we desire to reduce and minimize the effects of climate change in the present scenario. 

In summary, COP26 will play a vital role in addressing and meeting those commitments which have not been fulfilled yet. These issues entail climate funding and a lack of proper coordination between the climate leaders. 

Despite several countries’ approaches to renewable energy through eco-brands and reducing fossil fuel emission, the globe still needs huge attention to think of the mother planet for us and our future generations.