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What is COP26 And Why Are the Climate Talks This Year So Important

If you’ve been following climate change news, there is no way you haven’t heard of COP26 international climate talks in Glasgow. The conference will run from Sunday, October 31st to Friday, November 12th.

During this conference, world leaders will discuss climate change and how their country plans to do its part to lower emissions. At the same time, countries will urge action from other members to do more, as many are not doing their fair share.

This year is especially important as new research indicates that the world is heating up faster than previously thought. The only way to prevent disaster is for climate policy to become more ambitious, and more importantly enforceable.

Yet, there is no guarantee anything will change as key nations like China and Russia will not be attending.

What is COP26?

COP26 has two important components, COP and 26. COP stands for Conference of the Parties and can only be attended by nations that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 26 refers to the number of meetings the conference has held. Thus, this is the 26th conference. Originally, this conference was planned for last year, but like most things, it was postponed until a later date.

Now, while the meeting is known for its world leaders, members of the business sector, climate activists, and others are also invited.

What Is the Goal of the COP26?

The COP meetings are designed to help nations from around the world discuss climate change and announce their future plans. This year’s conference has four specific goals, which include:

  1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
  2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
  3. Mobilize finance
  4. Work together to deliver change

Without a doubt, the most important point on the agenda is keeping the 1.5-degree goal alive. Currently, it is almost impossible to achieve. This is because our current fossil fuel projections do not align with climate goals.

Nations like China and India are still relying upon coal for energy. And that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Thus, the absence of nations like China, and Russia will be felt. As the goal is impossible without them.

What To Expect This Year

This year will certainly be an interesting event as the United States has been making numerous announcements in advance. For Instance, it announced a new initiative to reduce methane emissions in hopes more countries would join.

And in less than a month, over 30 nations have already pledged to cut methane emissions. Odds are, there are still big announcements to come.

Many nations were expected to update their NDCs by July 2021. But 3 months later, 70 nations have failed to do so. This will likely become a discussion among members as many fail to follow the guidelines they agreed to.

There will also likely be members that will fight against new pledges. For instance, the Prime Minister of Australia has promised that the country will continue mining coal beyond 2030. This directly contradicts the world’s efforts.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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