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Biodiversity & Environment

COP26 Climate Conference

  • 19 Oct 2021
  • 7 min read

Why in News

The COP 26 United Nations Climate Change Conference will be hosted by the UK from 31st october to 12th November.

Key Points

  • COP 26 Goals: According to the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC), COP26 will work towards four goals:
    • Net Zero by 2050:
      • To secure Global Net-Zero by Mid-Century and keep 1.5 Degrees within reach.
      • Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.
      • To deliver on these stretching targets, 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:
      • Countries will work together to ‘protect and restore ecosystems and build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.’
    • Mobilise Finance:
      • Developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least USD100bn in climate finance per year.
    • Work Together to Deliver:
      • Another important task at the COP26 is to ‘finalise the Paris Rulebook’.
      • Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.
  • Suggestions for India:
    • Update its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
      • (NDCs detail the various efforts taken by each country to reduce the national emissions)
    • Sector by sector plans are needed to bring about development.
      • Decarbonisation of the electricity, transport sector and starting to look at carbon per passenger mile is needed.
    • Aggressively figure out how to transition the coal sector.

Conference of Parties (COP)

  • About:
    • The Conference of Parties comes under the UNFCCC which was formed in 1994. The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
      • COP is the apex decision-making authority of UNFCCC.
    • It laid out a list of responsibilities for the member states which included:
      • Formulating measures to mitigate climate change.
      • Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change.
      • Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change.
  • Meetings:
    • COP members have been meeting every year since 1995. The UNFCCC has 198 parties including India, China and the USA.
      • Generally it meets in Bonn, the seat of the secretariat, unless a Party offers to host the session.
  • Presidency:
    • The office of the COP President normally rotates among the five United Nations regional groups which are - Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others.
    • The President is usually the environment minister of his or her home country. S/he is elected by acclamation immediately after the opening of a COP session.

COP’s with Significant Outcomes

  • 1995: COP1 (Berlin, Germany)
  • 1997: COP 3 (Kyoto Protocol)
    • It legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.
  • 2002: COP 8 (New Delhi, India) Delhi Declaration.
    • Focuses on the development needs of the poorest countries and the need for technology transfer for mitigating climate change.
  • 2007: COP13 (Bali, Indonesia)
    • Parties agreed on the Bali Road Map and Bali action plan, which charted the way towards a post-2012 outcome. The Plan has five main categories: shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing.
  • 2010: COP 16 (Cancun)
    • Resulted in the Cancun Agreements, a comprehensive package by governments to assist developing nations in dealing with climate change.
    • The Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and the Cancun Adaptation Framework were established.
  • 2011: COP 17 (Durban)
    • Governments commit to a new universal climate change agreement by 2015 for the period beyond 2020 (Resulted in the Paris Agreement of 2015).
  • 2015: COP21 (Paris)
    • To keep global temperature well below 2.0C above pre-industrial times and endeavor them to limit them even more to 1.5C.
    • It requires rich nations to maintain USD 100bn a year funding pledge beyond the year 2020.
  • 2016: COP22 (Marrakech)
    • To move forward on writing the rule book of the Paris Agreement.
    • Launched the Marrakech Partnership for Climate Action.
  • 2017: COP23, Bonn (Germany)
    • Countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement will work from 2020 onwards.
    • First set of negotiations since the US, under the presidency of Donald Trump, announced its intention earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris deal.
    • It was the first COP to be hosted by a small-island developing state with Fiji taking up the presidency, even though it was being held in Bonn.
  • 2018: COP 24, Katowice (Poland)
    • It finalized a “rulebook” to operationalise the 2015 Paris Agreement.
    • The rulebook covers climate financing facilities and the actions to be taken as per Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  • 2019: COP25, Madrid (Spain)
    • It was held in Madrid (Spain).
    • There were no concrete plans regarding the growing climatic urgency.

Source: IE

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