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What’s Happening at COP26 and How Will We Reach Net Zero?

Published date: October 2021

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We’re a week away from #COP26 and we’re at a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change. Many believe this is the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control. 

This is the 26th year of the UN Climate Change Conference of the parties (COP26) and it is being hosted in Glasgow on the 31st October to the 12th November. At Midcounties we’re sending Amelia Crews to follow the event and learn what we as a society can do to make positive changes for the environment – you can follow Amelia’s activity with this hashtag across Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram  - #CoopAmeliaAtCop. 

Amelia says:

“I’m so excited to be a presence for Midcounties at COP26. It’s an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by lots of like minded climate activists who are all driven and fighting for the same cause. The atmosphere and buzz will be incomparable! I’ll be volunteering at the event and attending progressive talks, discussing the future of our planet.”

The Paris Agreement

During COP21 in 2015 every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to below 2 degrees (aiming for 1.5 degrees) to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. From this the Paris Agreement was born with a commitment to aim for 1.5 degrees, with every fraction of a degree of warming resulting in global tragedies, lives lost and livelihoods damaged. 

The Paris Agreement will be revisited and refined at COP26 with new goals set as more challenges are faced. 

COP26 Goals

The countries in attendance are coming forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Net zero means we should be producing less carbon than we take out of the atmosphere.

To achieve these goals countries will need to:

  • Accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • Curtail deforestation
  • Speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • Encourage investment in renewables

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate has already changed and these changes will become more drastic even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At Cop26 counties will work together too:

  • Protect and restore ecosystems
  • Build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

Mobilise Finance

To deliver on the first two goals, developed countries must mobilise at lease $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020, International financial institutions must play their part and work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance needed to secure global net zero. 

Work together to deliver

These goals can only be met if everyone at Cop26 works together. We must:

  • Finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules that made the Paris Agreement operational)
  • Accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

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