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COP26 stands for the 26th Conference of the Parties. It is part of the annual climate change meetings organized by the United Nations. This meeting was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October to 12 November 2021. It was the first time in history that a COP meeting for climate change was held in the UK. COP26 was supposed to take place in 2020 (five years after the Paris Agreement). However, it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The main focus of COP26 was to continue the work that aims to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. For example, by discussing how the world can reach zero emissions by 2050. More so, this was done by working through the Paris Agreement.  

Conference of the Parties 

The Conferences of the Parties on climate change started in 1995. The participants are mainly the member countries of the UNFCCC. Which stands for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, other parties and stakeholders participate as observers. The purpose of the COP meetings on climate change is to monitor and discuss how to fight it. Which has focused on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. More so, there is a range of different topics that are discussed. Such as how different countries will adapt to climate change. And who will pay for the effects of climate change that are already happening? 

The first meeting happened in Berlin in 1995 and is known as COP1. Another example is the 2015 climate meeting in Paris, known as COP21. 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, ratified the agreement. Which in this case means that they are bound to it under international law. Although there are no serious consequences like fines if the agreement is not fulfilled.  

COP26 to fight climate change

What happened at COP26? 

COP26 resulted in two main things: 

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 kept on going for a day more than expected, until the 13th of November. These discussions 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 of the nations that have signed it.  

The Paris Agreement  

So, Cop26 had a great focus on the Paris Agreement. Because it is part of the agreement to renegotiate the goals every five years. Furthermore, this is done to raise the level of ambition to work with climate change.  

The Paris Agreement is about keeping global temperatures “well below” two degrees. With the ambition to keep them at 1.5 degrees. It is a historic agreement on collaboration to fight global warming. As mentioned above, it aims for zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This means that the emissions need to be half of what they are today by 2030.  

Sources: Commonslibrary  Outcomes – COP26


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