A Glasgow Welcome for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)
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With 100 days to go until COP26, Greener Kirkcaldy’s Media Volunteer Barbara explains everything you need to know before this November’s event. 

“Climate change is the greatest risk facing us all”

This year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) takes place in Glasgow, the Friendly City, which is my hometown, and I’ve been finding out what’s on the agenda for 2021.

The Conference is being held at the SEC in the centre of Glasgow, between October 31st –  November 12th and features twelve days of discussion and negotiations around key themes including, amongst others; finance, energy, nature, youth and public empowerment.

What is COP26 all about?

COP (Conference of the Parties) has been taking place for almost 30 years, bringing together world leaders from different nations, to work together to tackle the climate crisis.  This year is the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26).

This year, the UK is hosting COP26 in Glasgow.  Hundreds of world leaders and thousands of Government officials, businesses, citizens and negotiators will come to Scotland for twelve days of discussion and urgent calls to action on climate change.

What is the Paris Agreement?

In 2015, COP21 met in Paris and made an agreement to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees.  This became known as the Paris Agreement.  Each of the countries made a commitment to setting out national plans to reduce their carbon emissions.  It was agreed that they would meet every five years, to update on what progress was being made.

COP26

COP26 was postponed last year, due to COVID.  This year, there will be 197 parties attending the conference, with the aim of implementing the Paris Agreement. Each country is expected to put forward their plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030, with a view to reaching the target of 1.5 degrees.

Plans will include things like; phasing out coal and investing in renewable energies, restricting deforestation, switching to electric vehicles.

The Main Aims of COP26

  • Take urgent action to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees.
  • Restore ecosystems and protect them for the future. Protect the homes and livelihoods of vulnerable communities.
  • Mobilise private and public sector finance in order to implement these plans
  • Highlight the need for Governments, businesses and individuals to come together and all play their part in tackling climate change.

Why is this so Important?

To reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees, countries need to halve their carbon emissions over the next ten years and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The world is not currently reaching these targets, and if things continue as they are, temperatures will continue to rise and create more extreme weather conditions, flooding, fires and destruction.

Urgent action is needed to speed up plans to reduce carbon emissions, particularly in developed countries, which have the largest emissions.  This includes the UK.

What’s on this Year’s Agenda?

The main aim of COP26 is to reach an agreement on how countries are going to reduce their carbon emissions, and negotiations will focus on key areas over twelve days:

  • World Leaders Summit where heads of state will put forward their plans to tackle their carbon emissions.
  • Mobilising finance from private and public sectors.
  • Focus on cleaner energy.
  • Youth and Public Empowerment. Highlighting the important role that young people and members of the public have to play in tackling climate change.
  • Nature and sustainability.
  • Discussing practical solutions to deal with climate change and the impact of loss and damage.
  • Gender equality in tackling climate change.
  • Science and Innovation to provide solutions to deal with climate change.
  • Transport and working towards zero emissions.
  • Tackling climate change through action in communities, cities and regions.

How Can I get Involved?

One of the key themes this year is the important role that all of us have to play in addressing climate change, by making small but important changes to our lifestyles, such as walking rather than taking the car.

In the run-up to the conference, COP26 will be working with businesses, organisations, schools and communities across the country to talk about what each of us can do about the climate crisis.  To find out more, go to https://together-for-our-planet.ukcop26.org/

Race to Zero

Race to Zero is a global campaign to get organisations to join one of their initiatives and take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions.  Businesses, schools, and other organisations can sign up.  To find out more about how your organisation can get involved, go to https://racetozero.unfccc.int/join-the-race/

To find out how your school can get involved in COP26, go to https://together-for-our-planet.ukcop26.org/schools-pack-get-inspired/

To find out more about COP26, go to https://ukcop26.org/

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