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Glasgow COP26 Climate Summit: What to Expect

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Representatives from around the world will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the final round of climate talks at the Twenty-Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) during the first two weeks of November.

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The conference comes as the alarm on the earth’s climate reaches a new height. With greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures continuing to rise, fueling unprecedented catastrophes around the world, all eyes are on whether negotiators can make progress on issues such as climate finance, coal use and methane emissions.

What is at stake?

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Scientists and UN officials have warned that if governments do not take drastic action to reduce emissions immediately, most of the world will suffer climate catastrophes, such as devastating sea level rise, longer and more intense heat waves. and widespread species loss, among other consequences Me

Six years ago, almost every country signed the Paris Agreement, which promised them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, global warming emissions have continued to grow faster than expected. This year, emissions arrived historical levels, despite a brief decline last year at the start of the pandemic.

The Paris Agreement aims to prevent global average temperatures from rising by 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels and, if it fails to do so, to prevent it from reaching 2C (3.6F) above. But the world is already warming 1.1 degrees Celsius, and a An estimate [PDF] released in August predicted that warming would exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades.

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COP26 is the first time since the Paris Agreement that countries are reviewing their voluntary commitments under the agreement. More than one hundred places have already introduced new targets, known as nationwide defined contributions (NDCs). However, experts say that even these new NDCs are not enough to prevent a devastating rise in temperature.

What are the goals of COP26?

The debate is likely to focus on the following issues:

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Climate finance. Experts say climate financing is likely to emerge as one of COP26’s most challenging issues. Developing countries, which have contributed the least to emissions levels, are demanding that developed countries follow a promise to mobilize $ 100 billion a year to help them reduce emissions and adjust to the effects of deterioration of climate change. Another issue that is expected to emerge is how to help nations that are already experiencing loss and damage due to climate change.

Carbon markets. All components of the Paris Agreements the so-called regulationGuidelines on how to implement the agreement have already been agreed, with the exception of Article 6. This section deals with how to develop and implement the so-called international carbon markets, which allow the trading of loans to reduce emissions.

A person paints a mural that reads,

An artist completes a mural near the center where COP26 will be held in Glasgow.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

coal British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting COP26, has called on developed countries to stop using coala major source of emissions by 2030 and for other countries to phase it out gradually by 2040. However, discussions on coal have already been controversial. Earlier this year, the Seventh Group (G7) failed to agree on a date to ban the use of coal. China and India, which in recent weeks have suffered energy crises partly due to a lack of coal, have also resisted the commitment to eliminate coal.

Methane. Leaders will formally pledge to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030, a goal that was unveiled by the United States and the European Union in September. More than a dozen countries have already done so signed the pactIt has not yet joined China, the world’s largest methane emitter.

Who is coming?

About twenty thousand diplomats, business leaders and activists are expected to converge in Glasgow. Dozens of world leaders are also planning to participate, including US President Joe Biden.

It will be the first COP since the United States re-entered into the Paris Agreement this year, and the Biden administration is likely to take on an important role in the negotiations. At home, however, the administration has tried to go beyond its comprehensiveness climate bill in Congress. There are serious concerns that any passing climate legislation will not go that far, which could undermine US credibility on the international stage. The question that is on everyone’s mind is: Can the United States fulfill its commitments under the Paris Agreement? says Robert N. Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University.

Meanwhile, the leaders of some of the top-flight countries will be absent, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin, although they are expected to send negotiators. Chinese President Xi Jinping has not yet said whether he will attend in person; China’s climate envoy and other officials are planning to be there.

Will Glasgow negotiators make progress?

The commitments governments make during COP26 are unlikely to be ambitious enough to prevent temperatures from rising 1.5C or even 2C, although some countries may make surprising announcements.

However, COP26 will lay the groundwork for ongoing negotiations both inside and outside the COP process. Climate change is likely to be a central theme at future multilateral summits, such as those of the G7 and Group of Twenty (G20), as well as within national governments.

A successful COP would be one that evokes a sense that was still in it as a world, says Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Crescent Red Cross Climate Center, and a sense of a shared agenda, where we we will continue to increase ambition in the coming years.

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