What is the COP26 (Conference of the Parties)?
The COP26 is a supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was adopted in 1994. Currently, it has 197 member countries and its ultimate goal is to “stabilize 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”. In short, UNFCCC is one of the most important forces to combat climate at an international level.
Each year at the COP26 conference, parties negotiate and debate about the current climate change situation and the overall goal of the UNFCCC. New agreements and treaties can be formed with the combined efforts of all parties, like the 2015 Paris Agreement (COP 21) and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (COP 3).
What makes COP 26 special?
In 2015, world leaders agreed to work together to combat global warming and signed the famous Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, countries must set up a national plan that aims to reduce CO2 emissions. Every five years, an updated national plan that would reflect their highest possible ambition would be submitted to the COP conference. “Most experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency” because it is the first time after the Paris Agreement that we will have a chance to see how the world is doing on combating Climate Change. Are countries meeting their goals? Or there are more to be done in the future.
What are some expectations from the conference?
The most important issue is to make sure a global net-zero by mid-century(2050) and keep the 1.5 degrees target within reach. Renewable energy, electric cars and coal replacement are all to be discussed.
Ecosystem and biodiversity protection are also going to be urgent topics. One of the most dangerous aspects of global warming is its devastating impacts on our natural environment. The acceleration of global warming could potentially destroy many precious ecosystems and driving many species to go extinct.
Another aspect of combating climate change is finance. Developed countries must commit collectively at least $100 billion on climate issues by 2020. However, data suggested we still have a gap (around 20 billion) between the promise and reality. During this year COP26, countries need to discuss how to reach the $100 billion target.
What does The Green Party of England say about COP26
The Green Party in the UK is currently calling the government to implement a more ambitious carbon tax plan at COP26. The tax plan proposes a tax of £100 per tonne of carbon dioxide and eventually rising it to £500 per tone by 2030.
The newly-elected co-leader of the Green Party, Adrian Ramsay said: “A carbon tax is a win-win for the climate and for social justice. We urge the government to show true leadership and introduce such a tax as a key plank of its COP26 strategy.
He further expressed “A carbon tax will offer a social dividend which will help the UK to genuinely become a more equal society. Carbon tax yields will provide funds to invest in cheap and accessible public transport, free home insulation, and a basic income.”