COP26 Climate Site
The 26th Conference of the Parties, delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1 - 10, 2021. Big expectations have built up with respect to what COP26 needs to accomplish when it comes to cilmate change, but will it deliver? The current signals are not that positive.
You’ll probably be deluged with COP26 coverage in the next few weeks, which will make it all the more difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to understanding what, if anything, is really happening.
There is a growing sense that “time is running out” to make real progress on climate change. Famous naturalist and film-maker David Attenborough recently stated, “We’ve been saying it for years, but COP-26 really is our last chance to avoid climate catastrophe.”
A global protest movement, largely led by youth groups, is demanding more aggressive action against climate change. Climate COPs are the only venue where this movement comes together globally, and it will have been two years since the last opportunity to do so.
The United States has rejoined the Paris Agreement, and will want to make a big show of again being part of the global climate community.
COP-26 is the 5th COP since the Paris Agreement was signed at COP-21 in Paris. Countries are supposed to review and report on their progress towards limiting climate change to “substantially less than 2o C,” and strengthen their national commitments accordinaly. In practice progress towards the Paris Agreement goal has been quite limited, and COP-26 will have to grapple with that fact.
As a result of the weaknesses of the Paris Agreement, a push was being made in advance of COP-26 to establish a Net Zero Club coalition of countries, regions, and even private sector companies to commit to a 2050 net zero target. The idea is that the Net Zero Club would lead the way towards a more rapid low carbon transition, and hopefully trigger political and economic tipping points that would pull the rest of the world along.
Countries had committed to devote $100 billion to “climate finance” by 2020, and COP-26 will be where a lot of discussion of climate finance will occur. Expect many observers to argue that the target has not been met.
Market mechanisms have been a key part of global efforts to tackle climate change, and Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change deals with those mechanisms. Past COPs have failed to achieve final agreement on the implementation of Article 6, and so it is again on the agenda at COP-26. Big questions remain about the role carbon offsets will be able to be used by countries to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and by companies to meet their new “net zero” commitments.
Because we “must solve climate change,” there will be greater pressure than ever for COP-26 to be able to be portrayed as having done so. But there is a reason this is COP-26; it is not easy to make real progress on the topics that will be on the COP-26 agenda. While it’s easy to say we “must solve climate change,” we’ve been saying that for years. As a result, to really understand what COP-26 will actually mean for climate change it will be key to read carefully between the lines both in the lead-up to the Conference and the outcomes of the Conference.
This Climate Site organizes information and topics relevant to your being able to track what happens at COP-26. Through this page you can easily access collections of materials in the Climate Web, designed to help users access their actionable climate knowledge. The Climate Web is an open-access knowledgebase based on the work of thousands of experts, and the closest thing to a collective climate intelligence existing today.
We’ll be adding information to many of these spots in the Climate Web almost daily, so keep checking back. There may not be much yet in several of them.
This COP26 Climate Site takes its cue from the Climate Web’s coverage of COP21 in Paris - you may remember this cartoon!
For COP21 we organized news stories and other materials, as well as extracting key ideas and arguments relating to the success or failure of COP21, allowing users to substitute an hour in the Climate Web for days of internet research. You can access all of that through the COP21 Index Entry in the Climate Web shown here:
What you see on this page represents just one entry point into the Climate Web; there are many given the hundreds of topics covered, and the more than 20,000 hours of knowledge curation it represents. To learn how to leverage the Climate Web to your own ends check out the links at right. And if climate change is important to you personally or professionally, keep up to date on the constant improvements being made to the Climate Web by