Unless you are living under a rock, you have surely heard about COP26. It is the annual climate change conference by the United Nations. This year UK and Italy are hosting it in partnership. It was due to be held last November in Glasgow, Scotland. But it was postponed because of the ongoing pandemic and finally happened between 31st October and 12th November. The list of attendees includes over 200 world leaders. The primary aim of this summit is to bring the current climate change under control. But how? What are the steps that countries are taking to deal with one of the most crucial issues of the present time? We will be discussing that in detail in this blog. Keep reading to find out more.
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COP26 stands for Conference of the Parties. It is being attended by all the countries that initially signed the 1994 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty, along with several other countries. This year is the 26th meet, hence the name COP26. People are referring to this event as the most significant climate change summit since the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Every second the world is getting warmer. Carbon emissions are at an all-time high. Glaciers are melting at an alarming speed. Sea levels are rocketing. More and more animals are getting extinct. Extreme weather events like heatwaves, cyclones, floods, forest fires are becoming a frequent phenomenon. In fact, the past decade was recorded as the warmest ever. And leaders and governments across the world have understood the urgency and agree that immediate action is required.
Rapid industrialization, excessive use of fossil fuels, deforestation, overfishing, excessive farming, and several other similar activities have all contributed to this disaster called climate change. While rich countries have the means to tackle the wrath of nature, poor countries are failing to cope with this. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the established nations to take account of their actions. And this summit is all about that. Countries across the globe have joined this summit to declare their plans to tackle climate change.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that has immense negative effects on the environment. The United States and the European Union together have led a pledge to cut down methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Over 100 countries have signed this pledge, including UAE. Scientists are of the opinion that this is definitely a good start. If successful, it can reduce 0.5℃ of global temperature by 2100.
For a long time, experts have warned us about the devastating effects of the rapid deforestation that has been going on in the name of development. In Glasgow, over 130 countries have pledged to stop and reverse the effects of deforestation by 2030. The signing parties include countries like Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These countries are also home to 90% of the world’s forests. Additionally, few high-income countries like Canada, the USA, the UK, and EU countries have pledged to donate $12 billion to protect forests.
High-income countries across the globe have pledged to donate cash to the under-developed and developing countries to fight the negative impacts of climate change. Small countries came together and asked for $100 billion per year. Rich nations are planning to meet this number by the year 2030. Not only countries like UAE and UK, but several organizations have also pledged to donate money. Governments are also planning to invest in clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the primary reasons for climate change is carbon emissions. The release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere results in the rise of global temperatures. For a long time now, environmentalists have been trying to get people’s and governments’ attention towards reducing carbon emissions. While the initial goal was zero carbon emissions, now it has changed to net-zero carbon emissions. It means creating a proper balance between the amount of greenhouses gases released in the atmosphere and the amount taken out. Several countries, including India and UAE, have taken the pledge of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. If implemented properly, this can help to hold the rise of global temperatures.
Industries across the globe mostly depend on coal for power generation. And the burning of coal is one of the primary causes of greenhouse gas emissions. In COP26, over 40 countries like Poland, Vietnam, and Chile have taken a pledge to stop the usage of coal. Not only this, but they have also agreed upon ending all investments in coal-dependent projects. Additionally, several organizations and banks have also signed this pledge.
UAE and the US have joined hands and launched The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) with the support of 30 other governments. This initiative aims to support environment-friendly agricultural and food innovations. As a part of this initiative, UAE has pledged to donate an additional $1 billion. This is besides the already 17 billion US dollars invested in clean energy. This initiative will not only help in climate change but also generate several jobs.
UAE, Oman, and Bahrain, along with 47 other countries, have given a commitment to work towards developing a low-carbon and climate-resilient healthcare system. Additionally, these countries are also working towards creating a healthcare system that is capable of dealing with the effects of climate change on people’s health. These countries have also stretched on the importance of creating a more sustainable healthcare system.
All in all, we can say that COP26 has garnered attention for all the right reasons. Governments and organizations across the globe have left no stones unturned while pledging. What remains to be seen is that whether these pledges are enough to not only stop further damage but also reverse all the damage that has already been done. Going by the words of experts, this is indeed a good start. So all we have to do is wait and watch.