Conference of the parties: What happened?

COP26, or the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, was an international discussion involving representatives from more than 200 countries in the pursuit of one goal: preventing the global temperature from reaching 2 degrees Celsius.

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Karwai Tang/ UK Government

GLOBAL. Officials from around the globe came together to discuss hw to stop climate change. After deliberation from world leaders such as Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, countries swore to keep methane emissions down. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51643059177/in/photostream/)

COP26, or the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, was an international discussion involving representatives from more than 200 countries in the pursuit of one goal: preventing the global temperature from reaching 2 degrees Celsius. The conference was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 31-Nov. 13. The discussion led to one answer that worked on paper. By reducing global carbon emissions by more than 45% by 2030, the global temperature of the Earth could possibly be maintained at 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, this is not the issue that caused the discussion to go 24 hours longer than expected.
More concrete details in how to maintain emissions at around 1.5 degrees Celsius involve cuts to fossil fuels, most notably coal and methane. Though a plan to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 was agreed by more than 100 countries, countries agreed to a commitment planning to “phase down” instead of “phase out” coal. Countries also agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which lower the prices of fossil fuels, and reduce deforestation, though actual policies have not been drafted yet.
“I’m not going say it was a failure, but I’m not going to say it was successful, because they did not plan to meet their emission target of 1.5 degrees of warming, and they did not make any plans to make any binding agreements,” senior Sal Burkhardt said.
However, a discussion about how to stop climate change became a discussion of how developed and developing countries should work together. One notable agreement between two countries was between the U.S. and China, both contributing over 40% of the world’s carbon output, in reducing emissions, though no specific policies have been drafted. Another factor in the relationship between developed and developing countries is money. A goal from developed nations to provide $100 billion in order for developing nations to reduce emissions and protect themselves from the adverse effects of climate change, this goal has not been met, with $80 billion raised by 2019. In a final compromise, the countries agreed on a 2-year work plan ending in 2024 to discuss how much money is needed to compensate for climate change and a promise from developed nations to double their funding.“It felt very performative,” Senior Nan Besse said. “I want to say it was very exciting to have a bunch of different leaders to step up during the pandemic, but the fact is they didn’t actually come to an agreement.”
COP26 also allowed for the completion of the Paris Agreement, which is a policy that will not only drive countries to reduce emissions, but also provide transparency while doing so through Article 6. This allows the creation of a system for exchanging carbon credits through the UNFCCC.