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  • Axel Conradt and Michael Nachbar

What happened at COP26?

For a while now the world has been battling against climate change and there is one special event which can change and shape the world: COP26. It stands for conference of the parties and this is the 26th meeting. Sadly, it was postponed by a year due to the covid crisis, but we are happy it has finally taken place.

It was managed by the UN and the president of the event was Alok Sharma. This event was held from the first of November to the thirteenth and took place in the SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. Over 300,000 people attended COP 26 of which 200 were political leaders, such as Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel due to the forming of the future German government.

Also, many climate activists from all continents have come to this important meeting to speak in the forming of the world. The event was also heavily guarded by Scottish police due to the mass number of politicians. Besides only political leaders, also many others such as cooks and other helpers have taken part in setting up this event.

151 countries have new climate plans to reduce their carbon emissions by 2030. In the conference it was mentioned that countries should move away from coal, and fossil fuel, because in order to keep the 1.5 C goal alive we need to cut carbon emissions in half within the next century.

One of the boldest claims was from India, which aspires to reach net zero emissions by 2070. Some countries (in particular, Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Russia) need to revisit and strengthen their 2030 goals by the end of 2022. We will know better if the 1.5-degree goal will be achievable once the revised 2030 targets from the major emitters are announced at the end of 2022.

The developed countries are still going to need to come up with 21 billion dollars in order to meet their goal of 100 billion dollars for assisting developing countries reduce their emissions. Developed countries have a goal of raising 40 billion dollars for adaptation in developing countries.

Climate-vulnerable countries had hoped that there would be finance for damage and loss, but the US pushed back on this idea, and would only agree to opening a dialog for discussing these problems. Scotland and Belgium did pledge together 3.7 million dollars to offset damage and loss, and these pledges were very welcomed.

109 countries signed up to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030, 141 countries signed up to reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 (18 billion dollars were raised for this). 46 countries decided to phase out domestic coal and 29 countries agreed to stop publicly supporting unabated fossil fuels by the end of 2022. 41 cities, 34 countries and 11 major auto makers agreed to sell only zero emission cars by 2040. 1000 cities joined the “Cities race to Zero“ to raise awareness to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The United States is trying to raise 1 trillion dollars for solar power by 2030 and became the 15th country to join the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. 400 financial firms, which control over 130 trillion dollars, will rework their portfolios to be net zero by 2030.

From COP 21 in Paris 2015 the UN agreed to stop all fossil fuels and CO2 by 2050. But China and India have not agreed to this and have stated that because of their massive population and economy they will not fulfill this until 2050 and will take longer. This is a major concern amongst the world and also a big argument. The less countries that stick to the agreement the more that will avoid the Paris Agreement to stop carbon dioxide by 2050.

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