UNFCCC COP26 - Climate Change Conference

The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, has started from October 31 onwards. It will continue till November 12, 2021, in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, UK.

The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was initially scheduled to take place between November 9 and 19, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled. 

In this article, we shall discuss the goals of COP 26. In the run-up to COP26, the UK is working with every nation to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change. More than 190 world leaders are expected to arrive in Scotland. All IAS Exam aspirants must carefully analyse the key outcomes of this meeting, as questions based on the same may be asked in the upcoming examination. 

Latest Updates on COP 26:

  • On November 2, 2021, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi during his speech at Glasglow, committed to achieve a net zero emissions target latest by 2070. A few other commitments made by the Indian PM included:
    • 50% of India’s energy will be sourced from renewable energy sources
    • Reduction in carbon emissions until 2030 by a million tonnes
    • India shall also reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by less than 45%
    • 500 Gigawatt of renewable energy to be installed by 2030
  • Nearly 90 countries have joined a US and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions 30% by 2030 from the 2020 levels. Leaders have pledged to stop deforestation by the end of the decade to slow climate change

Read about earlier UN climate conferences:

An Overview of COP 26

  • COP26 is the 2021 edition of the United Nations Annual Climate Change Conference
  • A Pre-COP26 Chair was also held in Milan between September 30, and October 2, 2021, to discuss their expectations for the COP26 outcome, which was attended by more than 50 Ministers and high-level representatives.
  • This meet also focuses to take immediate actions to curb the issues caused due to climate change. Especially based on the outcomes published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest assessment report. 
How is Climate Change a risk factor for the world?

As an impact of climate change, storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying across the globe. Air Pollution has increased which is sadly affecting the health of millions of people. Apart from this, due to unpredictable weather, untold damage to homes and livelihoods too is caused.

UPSC 2021

What do we need to achieve? – Key Goals

There are four main objectives that need to be worked upon by COP 26. Discussed below are the same:

  • Secure Global Net-Zero by Mid-Century and Keep 1.5 Degrees within Reach
    • Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.
    • To deliver on these stretching targets, countries need to accelerate the phaseout of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • Adapt To Protect Communities and Natural Habitats
    • Enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:
      • Protect and restore ecosystems
      • Build defences
      • Put warning systems in place
      • Make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
  • Mobilise Finance
    • International financial institutions must play their part and work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net-zero
    • Developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year
  • Work Together To Deliver
    • The countries need to finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement
    • Acceleration in terms of collaborations between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on the climate goals faster needs to be emphasized

The first of these four goals which require the emission of greenhouse gases to reduce is one of the key objectives to be discussed at COP 26. To know about the countries which are the highest emitters of GHGs in the world, check the latest edition of the Emission Gap Report at the linked article. 

Also, read:

India’s Role & Expectations – COP 26

  • India has raised its doubts against the net-zero emission goal of COP 26 that are to be achieved by 2050
  • The country expects the meeting should also be initiating the process of setting the long-term climate finance for the post-2025 period
  • India has also welcomed the COP26 Presidency’s five key initiatives on sustainable land use, energy transition, low emission vehicle transition, climate finance and adaptation

The Conference of the Parties (COP) play a very essential role in taking the required actions against the climatic change across the globe. It is an important part of the UPSC Syllabus from the environment perspective. 

After going through the aspects, goals and outcomes of COP 26, candidates can test their understanding of the same by answering the question given below. 

Question: COP26 must focus sharply on reducing emissions till 2030, rather than on net zero 2050, which is too distant a goal. Critically analyse.

This will help candidates practise for UPSC Mains answer writing and conduct a comparative analysis of the answers given by their peers for self-evaluation.  

For any further details about the civil services or any other competitive exam, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for assistance. 

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