COP26 Explained: An Urgent Call for Climate Action

Lately, you might be hearing a great deal about COP26 in the news. How might this affect your family, your job or your business? On an international level, countries and organizations are coming together to address the impact of global warming on communities and livelihoods around the world. COP26 plays a major role in bringing nations together to discuss and plan for a brighter future. But what does that mean exactly? You might be wondering if this something you need to be conscious of in your daily life. The answer is: yes! Here, we have provided a basic guide to COP26 to help you understand the gravity of this momentous occasion.

What is COP26?

In 1994, 196 countries and the EU signed a treaty entitled the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For 26 years, these nations have convened annually for a Conference of the Parties (COP) to address the mounting urgency of the climate crisis, hence COP26. This year’s conference is taking place in Glasgow, as it is directed by the UK.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was put on hold in 2020. In the meantime, the U.N. released a new climate science report that further indicated how little time we have to make a change. At the 2015 conference, the historic Paris Agreement was signed and nearly every country agreed to limit warming to below 2 degrees, ideally aspiring to 1.5 degrees. Every five years, these countries will come forward to report their progress, update their targets and present their plan for a reduction of emissions. This conference, initially set for 2020, is the first year countries are expected to present these proposals.

Who are the Actors?

At COP26, over 190 world leaders have come together for 12 days of talks. The UK will act as President of COP26; they are a leading player in the fight against climate change and were the first major economy to enact a law stating they will reach zero emissions by 2050. Negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens are all invited to take part as well. The actors involved are separate into a “Blue Zone” and a “Green Zone” during the event. The “Blue Zone” is dedicated to delegates, those who work for the United Nations and similar organizations, the media and non-profit groups. They will participate in meetings, briefings and formal negotiations. The “Green Zone” includes citizens, artists and musicians who can join in and participate in various workshops, exhibitions, installations and presentations.

It may surprise you to hear this, but you are also an actor in COP26 even if you are not attending the event. To achieve a goal of net zero emissions, every company, financial firm, bank, insurer and investor will need to adjust their practices moving forward. So far, 15% of the global economy has committed to the Race to Zero: over 2,300 businesses, 700 cities, 160 investors, and 600 educational institutions are dedicated to halving their emissions by 2030 and reaching zero emissions by 2050. By investing in green practices, you and your business can enjoy the many benefits of adhering to this critical social responsibility.

What is at Stake?

Right now, we are not doing enough to limit the human race’s impact on the rapid warming of the planet. The estimated amount of warming that has occurred is 1.1 degrees C and we are witnessing changes in local temperatures, extreme weather events, drought fed fires and floods. Greater global warming most certainly means more disastrous consequences from flooding, wildfires, and extreme weather that will devastate communities and agricultural societies across the globe.  

The good news is that a pathway to limit global warming to 1.5° is technically possible. According to a 2020 McKinsey Report every part of the economy would have to decarbonize over the next decade, daunting but doable. Doo Consulting will be following the COP 26 to see what commitments get made. We will report what we hear on this blog. 

It’s better to do something than to do nothing while waiting to do everything.

– Winston Churchill.

Learn About How Your Business Can Benefit from the COP26 Summit

Buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions.* Doo Consulting works in this market sector to help reduce those emissions. Contact us if we can assist in your goal to reduce emissions from your existing building or your next project.

*Architecture 2030