Is COP26 the last hope to limit global warming?
The United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) is seen by many as the last chance to avert the most catastrophic and irreversible consequences of rising temperatures. Here’s everything you need to know about the event, which takes place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 through November 12.
This content was published on October 22, 2021 – 10:00
The international conference represents “a turning point for humanity”, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Strong words that convey the importance of an event that the UN did not want to postpone once again due to the pandemic, despite the appeal of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who were not all able to assist due to lack of vaccines in poor countries.
Switzerland has reaffirmed its climate action plans, but collective decisions will be the key to whether the COP26 ConferenceExternal link succeeds or fails.
What is the COP?
This is the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is an annual event where government officials discuss and negotiate solutions to combat global warming. The 26th session is chaired by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy.
Who else is participating?
Representatives from nearly 200 countries, including around 100 heads of state and government. Thousands of negotiators, climate experts, business leaders, civil society groups, NGO representatives and journalists from around the world will also attend the summit.
Why is this year’s summit so important?
Because six years have passed since the adoption of the international treaty on climate change, known as the Paris Agreement, and the commitments made so far are insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 ° Celsius., Au- beyond this threshold, climate change could have a long lasting and irreversible impact on human and natural systems. Recent heat waves, forest fires, floods and other natural disasters underscore the need for urgent and global climate action.
This year’s COP in Glasgow is also the first since the United States joined the Paris Agreement.
What are we talking about ?
“Coal, cars, money and trees,” as Johnson said. Climate finance will be one of the main topics discussed in Glasgow. This is the aid that industrialized countries have promised to the countries most affected by global warming.
We are still far from the 100 billion dollars (93 billion francs) promised in 2009 to finance projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and adapting to climate change in developing countries.
Delegates in Scotland will also discuss carbon quotas and offsets, the promotion of electric vehicles and solutions to end deforestation and coal mining.
What are Switzerland’s priorities?
Switzerland is committed to applying uniform, strong and binding rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the government said in a press release. Switzerland wants to avoid double counting emission reductions. These are situations where two countries claim the same reductions, with one country reducing its own emissions and another country funding the reduction through offset programs. Carbon offset programs allow countries to invest in environmental projects around the world to balance their own carbon footprints. Switzerland wants to prevent such projects – like the construction of a solar power plant – from having a negative impact on the environment or human rights.
At the end of 2020, Switzerland and Peru were the first countries in the world to sign a carbon offset agreement under the Paris Agreement.
Will the negotiations be successful?
Not necessarily. As in 2019, the climate conference risks concluding without making substantial progress, despite decades of warnings from scientists and calls for immediate action from citizens during climate protests around the world. Some of the biggest emitters, including China and India, have passed the July 31 deadline to submit updated climate commitments to the UN. All parties to the Paris Agreement were invited to submit such commitments before COP26.
“Without political and financial commitments from industrialized countries”, the risk of failure of COP26 is high, said UN Secretary General António Guterres.