With climate change being the leading cause of weather disasters that are now five times more common than in the 1970s, the eyes of the world will look to Glasglow, Scotland, for the annual COP26 climate change summit from October 31 to November 12 to see if leaders will accelerate action.
What is COP26?
COP26 is the annual UN meeting of the 197 countries that have agreed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally adopted in 1992. The meeting is the decision-making body of the countries that signed onto the Framework. It assesses how well nations are dealing with climate change. The body also establishes legally binding obligations on member countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What does COP26 stand for?
COP is short for “Conference of the Parties” because it is a conference of the parties or countries that signed the agreement. This is the 26th meeting of all the signatories. The first was in 1995 in Berlin. COP26 was to take place last year, but was postponed due to Covid.
Why is COP26 important? Before the industrial revolution, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million. The current measurement is 419 parts per million. Scientists say humanity has about a decade to dramatically reduce heat-trapping gas emissions before thresholds are passed that may make recovery from climate collapse impossible
What are COP26 policy goals?
The overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature from rising more than 1.5°C due to climate change. Through the burning of fossil fuels that add carbon dioxide and other gasses to the atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature has gone up an estimated 1.1°C.
Who’s is going to COP26?
Approximately 20,000 people will be attending the formal talks. They include government representatives, scientists and policy experts. Aside from hundreds of world political leaders, other well-known names are planning to attend to signal the importance of grappling with climate change.
Queen Elizabeth II has said she will be in Glasgow, along with Prince Charles and Camilla and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Dutchess of Cambridge.
Pope Francis plans to attend, depending on his health. US President Joe Biden will be there November 1 and 2, during the World Leader Summit portion of the meeting. Will Greta Thunberg be there?
Swedish climate activist and high school student Greta Thunberg plans to attend protests there during COP26. A climate rally scheduled for Saturday, November 6 is expected to draw as many as 150,000 people.
More than 10,000 police officers will be deployed from across Scotland and the UK to man the 13-day conference.