COP26 stands for the 26th Conference of the Parties. It is part of the annual climate change meetings organised by the United Nations. The meeting took place in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October to 12 November 2021. It was the first time in history that the UK got to host a
COP meeting for climate change. COP26 was supposed to take place in 2020 (five years after the Paris Agreement). However, it did not happen because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The main focus of COP26 was to continue the work that aims to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. The nations discussed how the world can reach zero emissions by 2050. More so, they worked through the Paris Agreement.
Conference of the Parties
The Conferences of the Parties on climate change started in 1995. The participants are the member countries of the UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, others participate as observers. The purpose of the COP meetings on climate change is to monitor and discuss how to fight it. The main focus has been on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. More so, there is a range of other topics discussed. Such as how different countries will adapt to climate change. And who will pay for the effects of climate change already happening today?
The first meeting was in Berlin in 1995 and is known as COP1. Another famous COP meeting is COP21 which happened in Paris in 2015. It was at this meeting that the members created the Paris Agreement. Since then, 194 countries have signed it, while 187 have made it legally binding. In other words, they ratified the agreement, which means they are bound to it under international law. Although, there are no serious consequences if the nations do not live up to it.
What happened at COP26?
COP26 resulted in two main things:
- The Glasgow Climate Pact
- the completion of the Paris Rulebook
In brief, members created and signed the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 (see below). More so, they finalised the so-called Paris Rulebook. A set of rules that aim to implement the Paris Agreement. Also, there were other agreements at COP26. Yet, the two mentioned above were the most important.
Glasgow Climate Pact
The discussions at COP26 were very long. They continued for an extra day, until 13 November. Finally, these debates resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact. In short, the agreement is a set of decisions based on the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Broadly, it concerns ways to fight climate change. The pact is not legally binding for any nations that have signed it.
The Paris Agreement
So, Cop26 had a significant focus on the Paris Agreement. Since part of the deal was to renegotiate it every five years. More so, renegotiation raises the ambition of working with climate change. The Paris Agreement is about keeping global temperatures “well below” two degrees, with the hope of under 1.5 degrees. It is a historic collaboration agreement to fight global warming. As mentioned above, it aims for zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This aim requires a reduction of half of today’s emissions by 2030.
Sources: Commonslibrary Outcomes – COP26