This is part 2 of an ongoing series on the COP (Conference of the Parties). For part 1, an introduction to the COP, click here.
The 26th annual meeting of the COP (COP26) will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, 2021. World leaders from every continent will be gathering to announce climate commitments and negotiate agreements. Climate activists like Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough will also be there to advocate for higher ambition and to hold politicians accountable.
The stakes are high for the COP26 conference. It comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest climate report, released in August, which stunned the world with its matter-of-fact, bleak warnings of the consequences that await us in the coming decades if we fail to act on climate change. At the same time, this year marks the first round of NDC updates since the Paris Agreement was adopted, making it an important opportunity to check our progress.
Sadly, we already know that our collective progress is nowhere near where it needs to be. It’s true that many countries have submitted new NDCs pledging to cut their emissions in half by 2030, a target that would help to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal if it were universally applied. However, the cumulative result of all current NDCs would see emissions increasing 16% by 2030, compared to 2010. On top of this, not every country with an ambitious NDC has a viable path for reaching that goal. The United States, with the entrenchment of fossil fuel interests in its political system, provides a chilling example of this problem. There is still time for improvement, however, as several large emitters have not yet submitted updated NDCs. We hope for more announcements both leading up to and during COP26.
There are a few other significant issues that negotiators need to resolve at the summit. These include climate financing, or how much developed countries will pay to ease the way for a low-carbon transition in developing countries. The goal was to reach $100 billion per year on a global level by 2020 (through at least until 2025), but the latest data, from 2019, shows a total of only $79.6 billion. If this annual shortfall continues until 2025, that will mean that developing countries will have $100 billion less than they were promised to help them cut their own emissions, protect their people, and adapt to a warmer future—which they did little to cause. Wealthier countries are currently negotiating how to make up this deficit and will be discussing climate finance targets going beyond 2025 during the COP26 conference.
In addition, delegates will be working on finalizing the Paris rulebook, which governs the inner workings of the Paris Agreement. The outstanding questions include how to manage emissions reduction trading, or carbon credits. Carbon credits allow countries that have surpassed their goals in cutting emissions to sell the additional credits to others who have not yet reached their targets.
One bright spot—hopefully one among many—is the Global Methane Pledge, which will be officially launched at the COP26 climate summit. Already, countries representing 30% of global emissions, including the United States, European Union, and Israel, have committed to reducing their methane emissions by 30% by 2030. We are excited about the role that UBQ’s sustainable innovation can play in addressing this key contributor to the climate crisis.
UBQ at COP26
UBQ Materials is proud to report that our Vice President of Sustainability, Rachel Barr, will be attending COP26 as part of the Israeli delegation. She will be keeping us updated on her experiences there. Keep up with the latest which will be shared live on our Twitter. In the meantime, check back soon for the next installment in this series, a more detailed look at what COP26 means for Israel.