On October 1st, 2021 on the occasion of the Youth COP and Pre COP26 up to 50 000 people joined a Fridays for Future school strike in Milan, Italy. They protested to show a clear message for climate and environmental protection. Picture by Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto)
On October 1st, 2021 on the occasion of the Youth COP and Pre COP26 up to 50 000 people joined a Fridays for Future school strike in Milan, Italy. They protested to show a clear message for climate and environmental protection. Picture by Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto)

COP26: The most important meeting in human history

By Dominic Naidoo Time of article published Oct 6, 2021

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Ambition, courage and collaboration will be needed to turn the tide on climate change, says Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson.

And it is hoped these qualities will be seen in abundance at the crucial Cop26 summit in Glasgow in October/November.

Johnson said: “Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change. It is with ambition, courage and collaboration as we approach the crucial Cop26 summit we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.”

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Cop26, scheduled to run from October 31 to November 12, is expected to be one of the most important diplomatic meetings in human history. As climate chaos erupts around the globe, world leaders face what United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called a “code red for humanity”.

“The world must slash greenhouse gas emissions immediately if humanity is to prevent the worst of what climate change has in store and preserve civilisation as we know it.”

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted in 1992 and now based in Bonn in Germany, is the entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change.

The UN says the framework convention has near-universal membership – 197 parties – and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global average temperature rise this century as close as possible to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels.

At the time the UNFCCC said: “The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.”

During Cop21 in Paris, 196 countries signed treaties – the Paris Agreement – pledging to work hard towards keeping warming under the 1.5deg threshold set by climate scientists worldwide. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The UN says: “The ultimate objective of all three agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.”

The Conference of the Parties (Cop) was first held in Berlin in 1995. The upcoming conference taking place in Glasgow will be 26th time the conference has convened, hence Cop26.

Taking place only a few months after the release of the UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that the world was warming faster than previously thought, this conference is earmarked to be the most important international meeting to date as the decisions made there will decide the fate of the world as we know it.

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