The Cop26 summit 2021
Cop26 is an event led by the United Nations in which world leaders discuss climate change and how to tackle it. It’s called Cop26 because it’s the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties.
The pandemic had delayed the summit from last year, so it has taken place this year in Glasgow from the 31st October to the 12th November 2021. The subject of climate change can be very daunting, and even though individually we try our best, we can’t predict how a summit discussion will progress.
Covid-19 contributed in a rapid decline for our economy, but our climate flourished with the lack of tourism and travel. This, however, could not continue for good and now the discussion is how we can leave everywhere we visit with no footprint left behind.
In order to encourage greener values, the Cop26 conference had four goals.
- Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. This means actions such as phasing out coal and encouraging more electric vehicles to reduce emissions.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. Encouraging countries affected by climate change to re-store ecosystems and to build defences to avoid more loss of homes and habitats.
- Mobilise finance. Developed countries must give at least $100bn in climate finance per year.
- Work together to deliver. Co-operation to ensure that the Paris Rulebook is finalised and we can tackle the climate crisis together.
Each world leader gives a statement on how they believe they can reduce climate change. Leaders of more than 100 countries with around 85% of the world's forests agreed to end deforestation by 2030, and China said that it aimed to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2060.
We hope that we will see these progressions.
The USA and many other countries agreed to limit methane emissions with more than 80 countries signing up for a global methane pledge, which agrees to cut emissions by 30% by the end of the decade. We hope that we will see these progressions but it is very likely that summit discussions make world leaders aware of how drastically the planet is deteriorating.
These promises give hope for a greener future, but ultimately the responsibility lies upon the shoulders of the general public. In our masses, we can reduce emissions if we become more aware of how our actions affect the environment.
So what can we do to help the environment?
- Take public transport or cycle instead of using a car or taxi
- If you are a driver, consider an electric car as your next vehicle
- Buy re-usable and non-plastic products such as bags, toothbrushes and cotton pads
- Eat more vegetables over meat because fruit and veg create fewer greenhouse gases
- Consider your flight before you take it, could your trip be done virtually?
- Try shampoo and shower gel bars that don’t use plastic packaging
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Respect and protect green spaces (and don’t leave anything behind)
- Make our voices heard to our local MP, our families and our government
With these small changes to our lifestyle, we can make one big change to our planet.