Climate Change Conference (COP26)

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), COP26, is held in Glasgow, Scotland, between 31 October and 12 November 2021. It was initially scheduled between November 9 and 19, 2020, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 meeting focuses on taking immediate actions to contain the consequences of climate change based on the results released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest assessment report. 

United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC)

 The formation of UNFCC occurred when the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas concentration increased from 280 ppm to 415 parts per million (ppm), thus requiring global cooperation of countries. The idea led to the formation of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The convention divided the countries based on their differing commitments: Annex I and II consisted of developed countries, and Non-Annex I comprised developing countries.

COP26 is crucial to fight climate change as an agreement was reached to have five-year projects of climatic actions on COP21 held in Paris. The Agreement of Paris conference requires the countries to announce Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs,) which are the self-determined goals to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These goals are updated every five years. The countries also agreed to develop a long-term strategy to decarbonize their economies by 2050 and for the developed countries to donate 100 billion dollars collectively per year y 2020 for climate finance.

COP 26 is the most crucial meeting since 2015. It is the first 5-year review and also encompasses several essential issues that were deferred from COP25. The conference will “set the trajectory for future generations” and be the best chance of making progress towards meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goals. The countries have the opportunity to re-evaluate their goals against more recent climate science. This is important because current targets will fall short of the Paris goals for global temperature rise. Climate Action Tracker, a leading independent research organization that assesses climate policies, estimates that current pledges would only limit global heating to 30C.

Goals of COP26

There are four main goals of COP26.

Secure Global Net-Zero by 2050 and Keep 1.5 Degrees within Reach: Countries are asked to meet ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by 2050. Countries aim to follow specific criteria to achieve these ambitious targets:

  • Accelerating the phase-out of coal
  • Reducing deforestation
  • Encouraging shifting to electric vehicles
  • Encouraging investment in renewable energy sources

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats: Countries aim to work together to conserve and restore ecosystems and warning systems, build defenses, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of livelihoods, homes, and lives.

Mobilize Finance: Developed countries must make sure to mobilize at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to achieve the first two goals.

Work together to deliver: Another vital goal at the COP26 is to finalize the Paris Rulebook. Leaders of different countries will work together to frame detailed rules that will help fulfill the Paris Agreement.

Aims of India after COP26

Update NDCs: India needs to update its Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. NDCs detail the various efforts are taken by each country to reduce national emissions.

Effective planning: Sector-by-sector plans are needed to bring about development. We need to decarbonize the electricity and transport sector and study carbon per passenger mile.

Energy transition: India needs to figure out how to shift from the coal sector to more renewable resources.

Robust legal framework: India also needs to improve the legal and institutional framework of climate change.

COP26 may well be the most crucial climate meeting of our generation. It mandates a review of progress towards the 2015 Paris Agreement, and also it allows members to re-evaluate 2015 goals based on scientific developments and generate new targets. Asia and India’s size, population, and economy might be critical to global climate change targets. COP26 is an excellent opportunity for Asia to show leadership and be a positive example for other regions. Asia has started to make good strides towards a cleaner future, especially with clean energy investment. However, the latest predictions show that all nations must decrease emissions to limit global warming to 1.50C. This trend will continue to create public and private investment opportunities in Asia’s growing renewable energy network.