Everything You Need to Know About COP26: Critical in the Fight Against Climate Change

Shravane Balabasqer
November 11, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About COP26: Critical in the Fight Against Climate Change

Climate change is nothing new - so why haven’t we solved it yet?

When we think of climate change, we often think of the recent developments and new technology being employed—but all of this started much longer ago than many people realize. 

Eunice Foote, a researcher from the 1800s, was the first one to conduct early experiments showing how carbon dioxide absorbs solar heat. She even theorized this might affect the climate of the planet as a result. John Tyndall was another famous researcher who conducted early experiments claiming carbon dioxide would warm our climate.

Scientists have been warning of the impending effects of high carbon levels on our atmosphere for over 150 years. Yet, we continue to struggle to take their advice and make the necessary changes to preserve our society and prevent major catastrophes. 

As climate change continues to be an international threat, global leaders are seeking to tackle the concerns of scientists and activists around the world. The latest summit, COP26, will address these issues and propose further measures to reduce emissions—before it’s too late. 

What is COP26?

The acronym, COP, stands for “Conferences of the Parties.” And the 26 refers to the fact this is to be the 26th time the conference has taken place. For almost three decades, the UN has brought countries from around the world together in order to discuss the towering threat of climate change.

The summit is attended by world leaders, climate activists, and scientists from around the globe. Over 100 world leaders are expected to appear, take the stage, and represent their respective countries. For anyone and everyone invested in the fight against climate change, this conference is vital to attend. 

The History of COPs

The very first COP was hosted by Berlin in 1995. At the time, it was seen as a significant historical moment because the summit was the first one attended by many world leaders. Together, they were going to officially draft an organized strategy to prevent climate change. This was the first instance of international collaboration and it established a plan for world leaders to meet yearly to discuss how to fight climate change. 

Back in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was also adopted in order to see a commitment from industrialized countries to reducing greenhouse gases. It set individual targets and encouraged countries to create their own policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and continually monitor their emissions. 

This was also key in establishing the fact that developed countries bear a much greater responsibility for the high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Because of this, it stressed the need for these countries to do their part and placed a heavier burden on them.

Most recently, there was the Paris Agreement in 2015, which was signed by 196 countries in a landmark international treaty that sought to create a collaborative effort to reduce global emissions. It also set the precedent that every 5 years, countries would convene to assess and draft an updated plan.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 conference was delayed to this year. Now, Scotland is hosting the COP26 in Glasgow.

Over the years, each COP has signed on more parties and the summit continues to grow in size and attendance. There have also been plenty of amendments, as more nations are pledging more financial support, like the Green Climate Fund, which was established at COP16 in Cancún in 2010.

Of course, there has been some controversy in the last few decades. Most notably, the United States left the Paris Agreement in 2017, but they have since resigned it under President Biden. Certain countries also fail to attend, which is a major problem, because climate change can only be conquered if all nations around the world work together.

This year, COP26 is considered by many to be humanity’s last hope. Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, opened her speech stressing that it is “a pivotal point in history.” 

And she’s not the only one who thinks so. Many climate experts are stressing the urgency of the climate crisis. As a result, COP26 has put forth ambitious goals to address this urgent need for drastic change.

The 4 Goals of COP26

At COP26, there are 4 goals that need to be achieved in order to maintain prevent the escalation of climate change:

  1. Secure global Net-Zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach: All counties are expected to set ambitious emission reductions targets by 2030 so as to achieve this goal by 2050.
  2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats: Our natural ecosystems need to be protected and also restored; our infrastructure also needs to be more resilient to protect homes and save human lives.  
  3. Mobilize finance:  In order to achieve the goals set, developed countries must do their part and raise a minimum of $100 billion per year in financing, starting in 2020.
  4. Work together to deliver: Collaboration is key in achieving these goals. At COP26, they will finalize the Paris Rulebook and push countries to beat the climate crisis with the help of governments, businesses, and civilians.

To achieve all of this, every country has to do its part by phasing out coal, reducing deforestation, transitioning to electric transportation, and investing in renewable resources. Climate scientists have stressed that achieving these goals by 2050 is crucial to prevent major loss of life—or worse, a global extinction event. 

Where to Watch COP26

For anyone who was unable to attend or missed some of them, all of the COP26 events and talks are being shared on the COP26 Youtube Channel. You can also watch them through their live stream, because the organizers want to ensure the conference is free for all who want to attend.

Why COP26 is Important for Everyone

Regardless of your stance on climate change, as a business or as an individual—our future relies on summits like these. Collaboration is key to reducing carbon emissions around the world, and COP26 is helping us to do that. 

Our day-to-day life relies on our planet being stable and predictable, but those days are already in our past:

  • Record-breaking heatwaves across North America continue to affect crops, water access, and basic human survival. 
  • Wildfires are also increasing in size and frequency in countries like Australia and America. 
  • And of course, hurricanes are growing in intensity once they make landfall. 

All this shows that we can’t treat climate change like a future problem. We need to react now.

Everyone needs to work together to curb our emissions and stabilize our planet if we want there to be a future. This is not just for generations to come—it’s for ourselves. These dangerous weather events will continue to escalate, which is why COP26 is a vital step towards securing the future of our society. 

While the goals set at COP26 have been critiqued as ambitious, they are achievable with a global effort. 

Reducing Our Carbon Emissions

In the last few centuries, humanity has waited too long to listen to climate scientists and activists. It’s not just the responsibility of a few major players anymore—it’s everyone. Every nation on the planet, every business, and every individual needs to curb our carbon emissions to reach the ambitious targets set at COP26.

We can do this through sustainable efforts, green technology, and working collaboratively at every level in our societies. In our homes, we can recycle and make better purchase decisions. In our businesses, we can choose to incorporate more sustainable practices at the office and within our supply chains. 

If you’re a company looking to reduce your own carbon footprint, CarbonAnalytics can help. We give you a full analysis of your company’s sustainability and emissions efforts, so you can make the biggest impact possible when it comes to combating climate change.

Once you can see how your company’s carbon emissions are, we work with you to turn that data into actionable insights. Once you have pinpointed those areas of improvement—you can fix them. And we’re the only solution that brings down the whole process from years to weeks.

Book a demo with us now and let’s work together to reduce our emissions.

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