COP26 and COP27
What is COP26
For nearly three decades, the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs (Conference of the Parties). The 26th annual climate change conference of the United Nations (COP26) took place in Glasgow this year from November 1st to November 12th 2021. In the run up to COP26 the UK was working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. Local authorities across the UK hosted a series of engagement events to raise awareness on COP26 and climate change.
Mitigation: Over 90% of world GDP is now covered by net zero commitments. 153 countries put forward new 2030 emissions targets. The Glasgow Climate Pact accelerates the drumbeat and puts in place the underpinning rules and systems. Countries agreed to come back next year with new strengthened commitments, a new UN climate programme on mitigation ambition and they finalised the Paris Rulebook.
Adaptation & Loss and Damage: 80 countries are now covered by either Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans to increase preparedness to climate risks with 45 submitted over the last year. The Glasgow Sharm el-Sheikh Work Programme on the Global goal on Adaptation was agreed, which will drive adaptation action. Amounts of adaptation finance have been pledge, including committing to doubling 2019 levels of adaptation finance by 2025. This is the first time an adaptation specific financing goal has ever been agreed globally.
Finance: Developed countries have made progress towards delivering the $100 billion climate finance goal and will reach it by 2023 at the latest. 34 countries and five public finance institutions will stop international support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector next year.
Collaboration: The Glasgow Breakthroughs will accelerate collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on climate goals faster, whilst collaborative councils and dialogues in energy, electric vehicles, shipping and commodities will help deliver on commitments.
Full details can be found at: https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/COP26-Presidency-Outcomes-The-Climate-Pact.pdf
Towards COP27: moving forward from COP26
As COP26 has come to an end, the world now looks to Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt who will be hosting COP27 from the 6th to 18th November 2022. Hosting the conference in Africa will shift attention to the Global South who play a key role in leading climate action, and will seek to make more room for marginalised voices.
Many areas in the Global South are currently bearing the brunt of climate change, with droughts, flooding, and extreme weather becoming increasingly common, with the worst impacts facing poorer communities. Hosting the conference in Africa will hopefully lead to the most inclusive COP to date, helping to represent the Global South and highlight how climate change disproportionately impacts it.
Like COP26, this will be attended by Heads of States, academics, activists, policy makers and journalists. The almost 200 countries invited to COP27 are expected to revise and strengthen their plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. There is optimism that global leaders will step up their ambitions. Bold and effective leadership at the national level will be vital. However, this depends on what progress can be made within and across different countries regarding financing, politics, and technology.
The main agenda items for COP27 include:
- Emissions – How will countries strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and limit warming to 1.5C?
- Just transition – How do we achieve a just transition to a net zero economy that ensures the Group of 20 (G20) gives the promised $100 billion a year to help developing countries tackle climate change and close the climate adaption gap?
- Green Finance – What role do business and finance play in investing in projects that will ease the transition to net zero?
- Ending coal power – How do we accelerate commitments to phase out coal power and drive the focus on renewable energy production?
- Carbon Trading – Can the of rules on trading carbon emissions be agreed?
- Carbon Offsetting – How can we progress and set global standards for carbon offsetting?