This year's United Nations climate summit--the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties or "COP26"--will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 1 to 12. Up to 200 world leaders will discuss how to address the climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many think that COP26 is the most critical climate summit since COP21 in 2015, when nearly every world leader signed the ground-breaking Paris Climate Accord. The world's nations agreed in Paris to hold global temperature rise to "well below" 2 degrees C, and "to pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.
This year's COP takes place six years after the Paris agreement, and is the first opportunity since then for countries to upgrade their pledges on tackling climate change at an international gathering. Critically, the U.N.’s climate science body--the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--published in 2018 a special report which concluded that the "safe" level of warming was no longer 2 degrees C, but was 1.5 degrees C. In view of the revised target of 1.5 C, it seems irrefutable that countries at COP 26 must revise their GHG emission reduction plans to reflect the new science, and move to net zero emissions as fast as possible. Ultimately, of course, countries must stop all GHG emissions in the not-too-distant future.
Climate First! and many other climate groups around the world will be organizing events in the weeks before the start of COP26 in an effort to move government and corporate leaders to dramatic action to save the climate.