What is the COP26 climate summit?

Between 1 and 12 November 2021, the UK and Italian governments will host the pivotal COP26 local weather summit in Glasgow. The assembly is the twenty sixth “convention of the events” to the UN Framework Conference on Local weather Change, a landmark 1994 treaty underneath which nations promised to keep away from harmful local weather change.

The local weather change convention was delayed for a yr due to the covid-19 pandemic. Now, offered hypothesis of a second delay doesn’t come to move, tens of hundreds of delegates are anticipated to descend on Glasgow for a summit which the UK, UN and others hope will elicit a lot bolder motion to scale back greenhouse gasoline emissions. The assembly between heads of state is a very powerful of its sort since 2015 when almost 200 nations in Paris agreed a historic deal to carry future temperature rises to 1.5°C.

Beneath that accord, the Paris Settlement, nations additionally promised to publish new variations of their nationwide local weather plans by the top of 2020. Heel-dragging by the world’s greatest emitters mixed with the covid-19 pandemic threatened to derail that timeline. By the point of a UN evaluation in February 2021, solely 74 nations, representing 30 per cent of worldwide emissions, had submitted a brand new plan.

Worse nonetheless, regardless of the EU, UK and others placing ahead stronger plans, they have been discovered to have made nearly no distinction to future international emissions. The UN calculated they might lower emissions 0.5 per cent by 2030 – a far cry from the 45 per cent by 2030 that the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change says is required to fulfill the 1.5°C purpose.

“That’s the reason we’re calling on these nations who submitted [national climate plans] earlier than the top of 2020 to return, to see if they’ll evaluation them,” says Patricia Espinosa, govt secretary of UN Local weather Change. New nationwide local weather plans, together with one from the US in April and one anticipated imminently from China, will play an important function in COP26’s success or failure.

Maybe the most important subject dictating the summit’s success is finance. Wealthy nations promised a decade in the past to ship $100 billion a yr by 2020 to assist poorer ones adapt to and battle local weather change. Solely about $80 billion is being delivered. This issues partly as a result of worldwide local weather negotiations, which culminate at COP26, depend on consensus decision-making and goodwill. It’s additionally necessary as a result of a number of the actions to chop emissions in these nationwide local weather plans are conditional on finance being delivered.

Prosaically, however nonetheless necessary, nations’ negotiators at COP26 should additionally tidy up excellent points from the Paris Settlement, across the so-called “rulebook”. Chief amongst these is a row over “article 6”, about how greatest to create a worldwide carbon offsetting market by avoiding double-counting of carbon permits and carry-over of permits from earlier local weather agreements. It sounds dry and technical however was a significant bone of rivalry at 2019’s COP25 in Madrid.

For its half, the UK authorities has laid out 4 goals for COP26. It needs each nation to decide to internet zero by 2050, because the UK did final yr, and to make sure safety for the individuals most susceptible to a warming world. Lastly, it needs supply of the $100 billion finance pledge and elevated collaboration throughout enterprise, civil society and nations.

Key gamers on the assembly are the 4 large emitters – China, the US, EU and India – however groupings of nations will likely be necessary too, from the alliance of small island states and G77 of creating nations to any “excessive ambition” coalitions akin to these seen at Paris.

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