Home Environment What Happened At The United Nations Climate Change Conference?-COP26

What Happened At The United Nations Climate Change Conference?-COP26

by Lola
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So, what is it? COP stands for the Conference of Parties and the reason behind it is to bring together the countries representatives to discuss climate action. This year is the 26th year it has been held and thus is called the COP26.

The event lasts for 12 days and doesn’t just include world leaders but also business owners and concerned citizens.

The event itself was carbon neutral, with any carbon Incurred offset through the purchase of UNFCCC offsets. Food served at the event also displayed the amount of carbon produced in the process of making the food.

There overall goals for COP26 Include:

  • Resolving old goals that have not been achieved from the Paris agreement, as many climate goals, were not achieved. 

  • We are on track for a temperature increase of 3.1 decrease, but thanks to the commitments from numerous countries, it will be closer to to 2.7 degrees. This is still much higher than the 1.5d egrees that scientists say should be our goal.

  • More work needs to be done to help those affected by climate effects. All representations need to be aware that climate disasters will continue if this problem is not tackled.

  • Its hoped that 100 bn dollars will be provided annually to help combat the affects of climate change. It is hope that this money can help poorer countries with their carbon goals and countries that have been heavily effected by climate distasters.

  • The event allowed many voices to be heard from worldwide citizens who have experienced climate disasters and climate advocates like Boris Johnson and Prince Charles who gave speeches supporting the cause. 

  • Ending deforestation practices and preserving current green places and restoring habitat’s that have been lost. 

  • Increasing pressure on worldwide agriculture to clean up their act looking particularly at life stock farming, so implementing sustainable farming practices limiting livestock numbers.

  • Scientists have asked that 30 per cent of worlds land and marine areas be preserved by 2030. 

  • Last but not least,  legislation, obviously putting rules that cover the entire world is not easy. So COP26 was important for solving any issues that may have come up since COP21 and making future goals. 

  • Over 500 fossil fuel lobbyists were in attendance, which was more than any individual country. Interestingly a recent UN report has found that fossil fuel companies are looking to increase Oil production levels from now on.   
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Has there been progress since COP21?

Let’s take a look back on COP21 and what happened during the last event. Many think that the last event was full of big promises but a lot less action. 196 countries in total agreed to set targets, report co2 levels and through combined commitment aim to ensure worldwide temperatures don’t rise by more than 1.5 degrees.

So similar to this year’s event but with one key difference, a noticeable increase in climate disasters and the combined costs being very significant.

Coal plants

The good news is over 40 countries have pledged to quit coal usage for energy production. Some heavy hitters have signed the agreement including Poland, Canada, South Korea and Vietnam to name but a few. All of which were big users of coal plants for their energy production. They have pledged to end the usage of coal-burning plants by 2030 and 2040 depending on how financially well off the country is.

Some of the biggest emitting countries did not sign the agreement, which is a somewhat worrying sign, South Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia, also did not sign the agreement. Instead, they opted for modified agreements to the pledge. 

The results of COP26

  • Over 100 countries have verified dates for net zero targets, this is 2/3 of the world of the worlds global economy.

  • China pledged to be net zero by 2060 and improved their previous climate targets.

  • India set 2070 as there target for net zero, by 2030 half of all of India’s energy will be from green energy.

  • 45 countries pledged to safeguard nature. The pledge also includes 4 billion to help innovation that will help crops better withstand increased climate issues. 

  • Over 90 countries have pledged to cut methane emission by 30 per cent by 2030 from current levels.

  • More than 120 countries have pledged to end deforestation by 2030, including China and Brazil. Brazil plans to end deforestation by 2028.

  • Canada has pledged over 1 billion USD to nature based climate solutions over the next 5 years for developing countries.

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The not so good news

  • Australia hasn’t pledged to strengthen their pledge from its original Paris agreement
  • The 100 bn USD pledge to developing countries could not be agreed upon.
  • China, Australia and the US have not pledge to end coal burning, just yet.
  • India and China changed their pledge from phase out coal to phase down coal.

This may have been one of the most significant climate change conferences ever, with some progress made. Overall only time will tell, as with the last conference, actions will say more than pledges.

Why the Climate pledge wording is so important

The pledge wording was a surprisingly important part of the event. A number of countries used less direct words which has some environmentalists worried. Indirect wording can be subjective and thus, add the possibility of confusion on what needs to be achieved. 

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A number of countries have been hit hard by climate change disasters. It’s predicted that a number of key areas will be severely affected in the future, these include the Maldives, the great barrier reef, Mumbai in India and Florida to name but a few.

Some of which are key worldwide cities, so it shows how important change is to hit that 1.5-degree increase. 

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Why the1.5 degree increase is so important?

For a start, it’s not as simple as a worldwide 1.5-degree increase, spikes and heatwaves will be further increased with this temperature increase. Scientists predict that if worldwide temperatures increase by up to 1.5 degrees some areas will become dangerously hot.

One of the most sobering stats provided during COP26 is that the world would need to cut emissions by 55 per cent to hit a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees. 

Again it’s not just a slight difference in temperature. The world climate is fragile and the increase in carbon will see stronger storms as it progresses.

So what we can expect, if COP26 is unsuccessfull

  1. Sea levels increase by almost 4 inches.
  2. Coral reefs decline continues and are almost wiped out completely.
  3. Fish levels decrease significantly
  4. Hundreds of millions of people are subjected to climate related issues.

What technology can aid COP26 pledge goals?

  • Electric vehicles although their production does damage the environment. Over the cars lifespan they are significantly better for the planet.
  • Solar glass is expected to play a big part in the future of buildings. This will mean that buildings can indpendently power themselves.
  • Consistent improvements in battery technology is seeing battery lifespans increase and the amount of power they can store increase too.
  • Carbon capture, recently Iceland has opened the worlds largest carbon capture facility, and as technology improves, carbon capture efficiency should increase too.

Are you a fan of technology and sustainability why not check out our article on green technology. 

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