COP26 UN Climate Change Conference will be held between October 31 and November 12 .
Climate negotiators from around 200 countries will meet at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, which is scheduled from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, UK. They will hammer out details of a new agreement to cut emissions to limit global warming.
Officially called the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP), the meeting will be hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy this year.
Here is everything you need to know about COP26 climate summit
What is COP26?
COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’, where the parties are signatory governments that agreed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty in 1994.
COP is held every year since it first took place in Germany in 1995. It was, however, cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. World leaders, ministers, negotiators, and representatives of various businesses, civil societies and international organisations attend the meeting.
Why COP26 is held?
This year, more than 30,000 delegates from across the globe will participate in the 10-day conference to accelerate action towards the emission goals of the Paris Agreement reached in 2015.
Representatives of around 200 countries will negotiate measures to reduce global carbon emissions to 45 percent by 2030, with the aim to become ‘net zero’ by 2050. The target to reduce emission is to limit temperature rises at 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is considered a safe cap according to the Paris accord.
To achieve this target, governments will agree on reducing coal use, raising money for climate finance, sorting rules for a global carbon market and absorbing equivalent amounts of greenhouse gases through carbon sinks like forests.
Why is COP26 important?
COP26 is being deemed as the “best last chance” for the world to get the climate emergency under control. It’s because the group will discuss the updated targets of nations for 2025 and 2030.
At the 21st COP in Paris, 196 nations signed the climate accord or Paris Agreement, which aims at limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 as compared to preindustrial levels. Preindustrial levels refer to the global average temperature between the years 1850 and 1900.
To achieve the goal, countries set "nationally determined contribution," or NDC, which is their emissions reduction target.
The targets were set by the countries themselves and not enforced by any agency. Countries are asked to update and set more ambitious NDCs every five years. Last year, the first five-year cycle ended, setting the course for updated NDCs in COP26. These targets will be for 2025 and 2030, which makes COP26 a critical climate meet for the next decade.
While India is the third-largest carbon emitter in the world, the country has not set a net-zero deadline yet. Committing to the net-zero target by 2050 would mean shutting down India’s coal plants and stopping fossil fuel use overnight. India believes even after taking such measures, the world will not be able to limit the temperature rise to 1.5C.
According to India, despite agreeing to reduction targets, most countries will continue to pollute beyond their share on a per capita basis. India expects countries contributing most to the climate crisis to fulfill their pledges on fund mitigation and adaptation projects, without which net-zero promises are hollow.
Also Read | COP26: EU committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050; bigger emitters have greater responsibility, says Frans Timmermans
What India wants
India has sought that earlier commitments such as $100 billion annual compensation to developing countries be met. At the Paris Agreement, developed nations had set out terms for climate aid of $100 billion a year to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, they fell short of meeting the target by 2020.
India also wants the carbon-credit markets to be reinvigorated and clean technologies to be made available for adaptation by its industries. The country hopes to strengthen global climate initiatives such as leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT Group), International Solar Alliance, Coalition Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience and Mission Innovation.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi, an analyst with the Council for Energy Environment and Water, told The Hindu that India should focus on three points at the COP. It should introduce equity in the net-zero targets, focus on tangible deliverables and go beyond its $100-billion demand. He added that the country should also focus on the development of clean technology, especially measures to reduce the cost of development of technology for mitigation and co-development strategies.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: IST