The highly anticipated Conference of Parties a.k.a COP26 attended by all the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), finally happened in November 2021.
With many people considering it to be the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement, this was a landmark event where many countries came together to figure out how to work together to stop climate change.
So, what came of it? Here’s the breakdown.
Limiting Global Rise In Temperature To 1.5°C Is A Small But Real Possibility
Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of COP26 was the Glasgow Climate Pact, which details how every country that is a part of the pact intends to limit the rise in global warming to 1.5°C. The idea is to do this through the following four ways:
- Mitigation - reducing emissions
- Adaptation - helping those already impacted by climate change
- Finance - enabling countries to deliver on their climate goals
- Collaboration - working together to deliver even greater action
While there is a possibility that we will just about achieve this goal, it is only likely to happen if each country delivers on what they have pledged. Plus, world leaders agree that they should return to the COP in 2022 with much stronger targets to reduce emissions as this is a matter of utmost urgency.
Over 130 Countries Pledge To End Deforestation
Many world leaders signed a joint pledge to end deforestation by 2030. The signatories include the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, Turkey, Italy, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Russia, and most importantly, Brazil, which is home to most of the Amazon Rainforest where endless deforestation takes place. If the pledge is honoured, this could be great news for us all, but most climate change and environmental activists seem sceptical about this, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
The U.S And Many Countries To Put A Stop To Funding Overseas Fossil Fuel Projects
Yep! You read that right. Around 20 major countries, the U.S. being one, have vowed to stop paying for overseas oil, gas and coal projects by the end of 2022. While this is great on paper, the big question is whether these countries will move to renewable sources of energy or harvest more fossil fuels domestically. Because, the latter will leave us worse off from where we started, further hurting the environment and the people that live in these countries.
46 Countries Made Commitments To Phase Out Coal
Countries like the U.K., Canada, Poland and Vietnam made commitments to phase out domestic coal. The U.S and China however, refused to sign the pledge. But on the bright side, a further 29 countries including the U.K., Germany and Italy pledged to end new direct international public support for unabated fossil fuels by 2022 and shift this investment to clean energy.
India Commits To Reach Net-Zero Emissions By 2070
At the World Leaders Summit, India made this bold pledge and backed it up with near-term targets (including ambitious renewable energy targets for 2030). This will be an impressive feat if we can pull it off.
The U.N Summit Saw its Biggest Demonstration of Protesters
Image Credits: PA Media
Around 30,000 protesters gathered outside COP26, mostly led by indigenous activists and activists from developing countries. Greta Thunberg was also a part of the protest, even giving a speech where she called the COP26 a “failure”. The people protesting were not pleased with the promises being made as they felt these were all empty claims they had heard before, while no real action had been taken. Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate was also there, urging protesters to continue campaigning against climate change, hoping that one day “the power of the people finally won”.
Hopefully, the World Leaders who were at the COP26 will do what’s right by us and stick to the promises they’ve made. Till then, it’s up to us to do our bit by living as sustainably as possible.