The 26th Conference of Parties Is Now Underway

For the next two weeks world leaders will meet in Glasgow, Scotland to address climate change.


Josue Perez, Student Writer

The Conference of Parties, or COP is when world leaders meet and talk about what still needs to be done when it comes to combating climate change. Celebrities, industry groups, climate activists, and academic researchers will also attend, with each group having their own priorities.

This years COP26 is meant to get closer to fulfilling promises that nations made six years ago at COP21 in Paris under the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement saw countries pledging to collectively cut their greenhouse emissions enough to keep the planet from heating up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. While 1.5 degrees doesn’t sound important, scientists say any additional warming past 1.5 degrees will trigger more intense and frequent climate events. Scientists also see two degrees as a critical transition where extreme weather will cause some of the world’s most densely populated areas to turn into uninhabitable deserts or flood them with sea water.

British Member of Parliament and the President of COP26 is Alok Sharma. During this year’s conference, Sharma wants countries and world leaders to reach an agreement on some key goals. Some of these goals include:

  • Keeping the goal of 1.5 degrees alive.
  • Putting an end date on the use of large amounts of coal.
  • Providing $100 billion of annual climate financing, which was agreed by wealthy nations.
  • Making all new car sales zero emissions within 14-19 years, this will result in a major focus and shift towards electric vehicles.
  • Ending deforestation by the end of the decade, forests play a big role in removing carbon from the atmosphere
  • To reduce emissions from methane

Along with the key goals, a lot of countries have also committed to reaching net zero by midcentury. Net zero is when the amount of greenhouse gas released is no greater than the amount removed from the atmosphere. To achieve net zero, countries and companies will need to rely on natural methods like forests, which is where the goal towards ending deforestation by the end of the decade comes into play. Along with forests, countries and companies can also use carbon capture and storage. This technology will remove the carbon from the source of emission before it can enter the atmosphere, after it is captured, the carbon can then be stored or buried underground.

Some major events from the first day of the COP26 are:

  • A major commitment from more than 100 leaders agreeing to end deforestation by 2030.
  • President Joe Biden apologizing that the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement under Donald Trump’s administration.
  • India promising to become net zero by 2070, India is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter with the U.S. being in second and China coming in first.