Svetlana EkimenkoAll materialsWrite to the authorGlobal leaders, activists and journalists converge in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October to 12 November, for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to bring countries together and accelerate action on the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Progress-reports on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to get countries to sign up for ambitious new commitments are to highlight the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), hosted this year by the UK after being delayed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An activist holds a banner during a protest ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain October 28, 2021Delegates from about 200 countries, including 197 signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Observer States, representatives of observer organisations, government officials, businesses and activists, members of the press and media and high-profile climate activists, including Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, descend upon Glasgow, Scotland, for the two-week event.
Many are anticipated to arrive late on Sunday evening, with some global leaders travelling from the G20 summit, hosted by Rome on 30–31 October. A draft G20 communique cited by Reuters underscored that world leaders would pledge to take urgent steps to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels in line with the landmark 2015 Paris agreement. The latter had committed signatories to keeping global warming to “well below” 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5 degrees.
This comes as recently intensified extreme weather episodes and carbon levels in the atmosphere have prompted climate scientists to emphasise the importance of a 1.5 degree cap. The draft G20 statement also underscored “key relevance of achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by mid-century.”
According to the official schedule for COP26, Sunday is a ceremonial day highlighted by procedural opening of negotiations. It is also scheduled to offer speeches from people such as Abdulla Shahid, the president of the UN General Assembly and Foreign Minister of the low-lying islands of the Maldives, which are threatened by climate change because of rising sea levels.
A two-day event on 1-2 November will welcome global leaders attending the event, offering them an opportunity to present their ambitions and proposals towards securing global net zero carbon emissions, meeting the 1.5C degree warming limit, protecting ecosystems and mobilising finances towards these goals.
3 November is to focus on finance flows to be used towards climate-related measures. More specifically, public finances are to be channelled towards development of infrastructure needed to transition to a “greener and more climate-resilient economy.”
Private finance is called upon to fund technology and innovation. Furthermore, poorer countries, that require support in reaching their climate goals, are to be aided by the developed countries. The latter will be urged to deliver on their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually in climate finance support, including building new markets for adaptation and mitigation.
Energy is to be thrown into the spotlight on 4 November, as the power sector accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Leaders of the global power sector are urged to work together to ensure that “clean power” becomes the most attractive option for power generation for all countries, while offering support to countries in transitioning away from fossil fuels like coal. Ambitious calls have been made to not only scale up clean power, but increase energy efficiency.
Youth, Public Empowerment
Events on 5 November will showcase the importance of elevating the voice of young people in addressing climate-related challenges. Furthermore, the critical role of public empowerment and education in climate action will be demonstrated as part of the . Nature Ensuring the importance of nature and sustainable land development and use as part of global action on “climate change and a clean, green recovery” are to be underscored in events scheduled for Saturday, 6 November ahead of a rest day set for 7 November.
“Adaptation, loss and damage” is the headline for discussions on 8 November. Emphasis is to be made on delivering practical solutions needed to adapt to climate impact. Countries are to be urged to take more action to “avert, minimise and address” losses and damage currently perceived as fallout from occurring climate change.
Emphasis will be placed on such issues as plans and financing for early warning systems, flood defences, resilient infrastructure. “Protecting and restoring habitats” is also to be highlighted. Countries are urged to produce an ‘Adaptation Communication’, to share practices on adaptation to impacts of the changing climate.
Gender Equality, Science and Innovation
Progressing towards gender equality underscores events on the schedule of COP26 for 9 November. Climate action, it will be emphasised, requires full and meaningful participation of women and girls on a global scale. Also on the day, collaborative, inclusive and multi-disciplinary scientific research is to be highlighted as essential to developing climate solutions.
A shift to zero emission vehicles is the theme of 10 November events at the conference. Road transport accounts for 10% of global emissions, which are said to be rising faster than those of any other sector. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the pace of the transition must be upped, argue experts. Furthermore, the requirements must include not only cars, but also vans, buses, trucks, and lorries, with a Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council set up for this purpose bringing together governments representing over half the global car market. Vehicle manufacturers are being called upon to show leadership in moving to supply only zero emission vehicles.
Cities, Regions and Built Environment
Events slated for 11 November are to underscore that buildings are responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50% of all extracted materials.
“The building and construction sector’s demand on natural resources accelerates climate change, and inefficient, unhealthy buildings negatively impact human health and well-being,” states the COP26 agenda.
Countries are being called upon to include full building decarbonisation targets, concrete policies and measures and related implementation mechanisms in their Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) With the wrap-up of negotiations on 12 November a declaration is expected to be presented, in some form, possibly including specific commitments, with countries required to sign up.