Climate change is a challenge that is constantly hanging over everyone’s head. No matter how much we try to avoid thinking about it, one cannot avoid being part of the conversation, the solution, or the problem. Actually, most people pass through all three groups during any given day.
Just like ourselves, countries, specifically governments also go through this process. Arguably, their conclusions turn out to be much more significant. But, where do countries have conversations about climate change? Of course, there are ongoing discussions between governments about this topic, but, every once in a while, world leaders get together and try to reach a consensus on how to tackle climate change together.
One of the most important such occasions is due to happen in November in Glasgow, the COP26, it stands for Conference of the Parties and it is one of the most important, if not the most important international climate change summit. The “26” in COP stands for the number of such conferences that have been held, created by the United Nations(UN) almost 30 years ago.
The significance of this conference is backed by their previous achievements - on paper. It was during COP21 that the Paris Agreement was reached. This agreement is the most important international deal regarding climate change. It consists of a formal pledge of 190 countries to keep the increase in average world temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, some activists, most notably Greta Thunberg, argue that this agreement is not enough to keep global warming under this threshold. This is why COP26 has as one of its objectives to create the Paris Rulebook, a set of rules that is supposed to usher the implementation of government measure to achieve the goal of the Paris agreement.
The conference also aims to highlight the importance of establishing an economic plan in order to help the developing world to gain access to new clean technologies. The COP26 president-designate Alok Sharma strongly believes that it is important to bring together sensible international aid packages that allow less developed economies to phase out highly polluting processes in their industries. He aims to uphold the pact of 2009 which stated that rich countries would raise $100bn each year by 2020, a target which has not yet been met.
According to the organisers, there is a need to mobilise the private sector as well as the public sector in order to reach the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero already brings together 160 firms including most of the world's top banking institutions such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. or Morgan Stanley . These are committed to foment green initiatives in order to reach another of the hailed targets of COP, net-zero emissions by 2050. This means that by 2050 the goal is to absorb more CO2 gases than we emit.
Leading to the conference, countries such as Australia have revealed big new plans in order to tackle climate change, however, there does not seem to be a consensus on how the goals set out by the Paris Agreement should be achieved. It rests on the ability of our world leaders to sit down and agree on a sensible action plan. One thing is clear, the success of this year’s COP is going to set the tone for the rest of the decade on everything concerning climate change action.