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Mar 1, 2022
COP26

Everything you need to know about COP26

Ele Ward
In partnership with

You’ve probably heard about COP26 in the news. But what does it mean for you and your business? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is COP26?

COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’, it is an annual summit bringing together governments, businesses and individuals around the world to address the biggest challenge facing humanity: climate change.

COP is attended by the countries that signed the UN climate change treaty in 1994, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or ‘UNFCCC’.

The 26th COP summit will be hosted by the UK and Italy. It is being held in Glasgow in November, after being postponed last year due to COVID-19.

Who will be attending?

An estimated 30,000 representatives of more than 200 countries will attend this year’s conference, including over 100 world leaders, from President Joe Biden to Jacinda Ardern.

Youth climate activists from around the world — including Xiye Beara, Daze Aghaji, Greta Thunberg, and Dominique Palmer — will also attend this year’s talks to demand policymakers match rhetoric with action.

It’s also important to note that developing countries, many of which are worst affected by climate change, are finding it hard to attend this year’s COP because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and extremely high costs in Glasgow.

For COP to instigate real change, we need all voices to be represented.

What are the main goals of COP26?

Are you wondering what will actually happen at COP26? Well, these are the key goals that COP26 is looking to achieve:

  1. Increase mitigation efforts: countries need to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius goal within reach.
  2. Improve adaptation and resilience: member states should work to protect the global population from the impacts of climate change.
  3. Mobilise finance and support: developed countries should generate £1 billion each year to support developing nations against climate change.
  4. Enhance international collaboration: this refers to finalising the Paris rulebook, which brings together the measures needed to implement the Paris agreement.

This means that for COP26 to be “successful” (according to its own goals), it will need to produce some of the most ambitious climate commitment outcomes we’ve seen to date.

So what can we expect from this year’s climate talks?

Ambitious targets

The commitments made at the Paris Conference in 2015 (to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C) will be reviewed. And countries are expected to come forward with ambitious targets for reaching net-zero.

Collaboration

Nations are currently falling short of their targets. Current projections show a 3-degree increase by 2100, which would result in catastrophic flooding, fires, extreme weather, extinction of species, and the warming of our oceans resulting in the loss of habitat for both people and wildlife which we are sadly already witnessing. We hope to see businesses and governments working together at COP to turn ambitions into action.

Financial pledge

The Paris agreement reaffirmed a commitment from developed nations to pledge $100bn per year to combat climate change by 2020. With that deadline now passed, we can expect leaders to reassess climate finances.

Climate strikes

Outside of the “official” talks, we will see many activists join forces to demand urgent change and real solutions from world leaders. Demonstrations are being planned around the world for the 6th of November, the Global Day of Action.

Will COP26 really make a difference?

While we are feeling hopeful that this year’s talks will bring about change, we can’t help but feel a bit sceptical. Many pledges and targets have been set in previous summits, but arguably little has been done to tackle global warming in almost three decades since the landmark Earth Summit. Pledges are important, but they won’t get the world on a safer path without proper, well-funded action.

How your business can take action

The outcry for action shows that there is no time to waste, businesses must take action.

Now is the time to set science-based targets and drive emissions down to Net Zero, whether that’s through certifications (see Cogo’s Good Impact Frame), opting for renewables, funnelling climate investments or incentivising behaviour change.

Sustainability isn’t a PR stunt, it is the foundation for all businesses to drive real change.

Whether you’re a financial institution or local business, Cogo is here to help provide the sustainability solution for you. If you want to find out more, get in touch.