COP 26: What Is On The Agenda Of This Crucial Climate Summit In Glasgow?
The much-discussed 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or the COP-26 summit in short, is kicking off from today in Glasgow, Unted Kingdom. The summit is bing attended by Prime Narendra Modi, although some world leaders including President Xi Jinping of China, one of the biggest contributor to global emissions, will remain absent.
It is a crucial moment as the world crosses more and more global warming milestones and a “code red for humanity” has already been sounded by the United Nations General Secretary based on the IPCC report released in August this year.
Here are the key points of its agenda:
Limiting Global Warming To 1.5° C, Achieving Net-Zero By Mid Century
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is an important climate goal and the present summit aims to keep it “within reach”. Countries are also expected to come up with “ambitious NDC’s”, i.e., emissions reduction targets for 2030 that will enable ‘net zero’ or ‘carbon neutrality’ by the middle of this century (2050).
Currently, there are only two countries in the world, Bhutan and Suriname, that have achieved the target of net-zero emissions. As per the ‘scorecard’ maintained by Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), 13 countries have a net-zero target established by law, and three others have proposed legislation for the same, to be achieved by the year 2050. 45 countries have a policy document to achieve the goal with the target year ranging from 2035 (Finland) to 2060.
India and its neighbours, Russia, Australia, and a majority of African nations have the “target under discussion” as yet. India recently refused to commit to a net-zero emissions target date, and instead stressed on climate financing from developed to developing countries as a means of securing both climate action goals and sustainable economic development.
Weaning Off Coal, Encouraging Electric Vehicles
Reducing dependence on coal is another big agenda of the summit. A recent report by the IEA highlighted the urgent need to boost investment in renewables, with a particular focus on cutting coal dependence. An urgent transition to renewables is high on the priority of this sumit.
India has stated that weaning off coal will impact its “energy security” at the present juncture.
Encouraging EV adoption to offset the reduction in fossil-fuel based transportation must be complemented by efforts to reduce deforestation as per the summit agenda.
Climate Change Adaptation And Infrastructure Creation
Even as efforts to mitigate and control climate change are made, it will remain an ongoing phenomenon and thus, adapting communities to it is also a significant challenge to be considered in the conference.
For the countries most affected by climate change, implementing mechanisms to protect ecosystems and safeguard lives and property through warning systems and defences and developing resilient infrastructure and agriculture to withstand changing environmental conditions are significant.
The United Nation says that an annual contribution of $100 billion on the part of developed countries is crucial to ameliorate and manage the effects of climate change. These efforts need to be supported by international financial institutions, and “trillions” in private and public investment will be needed t achieve net-zero goals worldwide.
Cementing Cooperation, Finalising Paris Agreement Rulebook
Enhancing collaboration and cooperation not just amongst governments but amongst private, public, and civil society players will be key to realizing climate goals since it is a global project involving all of humanity. The COP 26 aims to finalize the Paris Rulebook consisting of the mechanisms to implement the outcomes of the Paris Climate Agreement 2015.