This November, the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow: From 1 to 12 November 2021, heads of state, organisations and researchers will gather at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Their primary goal is to assess and further develop national measures and targets in an effort to keep global warming well under two degrees Celsius. After all, the far-reaching effects of climate change can already be seen and felt.
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is widely considered to be the ‘deadline’ for ambitious climate protection measures, and therefore the most important climate conference since Paris in 2015. Back then, 195 countries signed an agreement, binding under international law, to limit global warming in comparison to the preindustrial era – to well under two degrees Celsius warmer, ideally to 1.5 degrees. After ratifying the agreement, these countries created national climate plans to help them reach these goals.
At the COP26, these national contributions will be put to the test: in keeping with the Paris Agreement, participating countries must present their ambitious climate protection targets every five years. In Glasgow, this will actually happen for the first time. The fact that national efforts made to date aren’t sufficient to reach the two-degree target can be seen in the sixth Assessment Report released by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the latest projections from the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme): if things continue as they are, global warming will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, and 2.7 degrees by the end of the century.
How ambitious measures can be financed, and how developing countries’ efforts to combat the effects of global warming can be supported, will be central topics in the deliberations of the heads of state in Glasgow.