COP26 is the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties 26th meeting. Over the next few weeks, world leaders will come together to discuss the ever-growing need for climate action. The UK, in partnership with Italy, are hosting this year’s event which will take place in Glasgow between 31st October and 12th November 2021.
COP26 will bring together countries across the globe to inspire and encourage climate action. The aim is to accelerate action towards the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
In 2015 the Paris Agreement saw countries pledge to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. In fact, their ideal target is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – but why does this matter?
If the average global temperate increases by just 2 degrees, the impacts on nature and people will be seriously detrimental. Scientists have predicted several devastating impacts they would expect to see from a 2-degree increase:
- The temperature on Earth will increase and extreme heatwaves will become widespread leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths.
- Up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed and almost all warm water coral reefs will disappear.
- Some places, especially in the northern hemisphere and mountainous regions, will see stronger hurricanes and an increase in heavy rainfall causing floods and mass destruction.
- Mountain glaciers and rivers will start to disappear, arctic sea ice will melt entirely at least one summer per decade, which will be devastating to the wildlife and communities they support.
- Up to a third of all life on Earth could face extinction, drastically impacting the worlds finely balanced ecosystems.
- More people will die from vector-borne diseases like malaria, as rising temperatures lengthen the season and increase the geographic range of disease carrying insects.
- Increased air pollution will cause more health problems and pollution related deaths.
- Food production and availability will decrease as crop yields become smaller and some food becomes less nutritious.
- Sea levels will start to rise, and some countries will be completely submerged.
- Droughts become more likely and the availability of fresh water could become limited, causing up to one third of the planet to be without fresh water.
Climate change is the greatest rick facing us and the urgency for drastic climate action is evident. COP26 emphasises the part we all must play to tackle climate change. Governments, Business, Investors, Educational Institutes and the public must work together to rise to the challenge. COP26 outlined what needs to be achieved to reach the 1.5 target and calls the world to make big commitments to change in four key areas:
- Securing Net Zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- Mobilise finance to raise at least 100bn in climate finance per year
- Work together to deliver and turn ambitions into action
The UK government has broken this down further to four sub sectors: Coal, Cars, Cash and Trees. They are campaigning for countries and businesses to stop generating energy with coal, abandon the use of fossil fuels in cars, help the developing world adapt by investing cash and prevent the loss of the world’s lungs by planting trees.
Bold action in the next few years will put us all on track to achieving the 1.5 target. Not only will this reduce global warming but will also lead to cleaner air, restoring nature as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting economic growth.
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