The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be kicking off in Glasgow on 31st of October 2021, and will run until the 12th of November. This is arguably one of the most anticipated COP sessions to date and in order to prepare for it, let’s delve into what the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties actually means

What is the COP?

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is a supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Almost every year, the COP meets, and the venue tends to rotate among the five recognised UN regions – that is, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others. The first COP session (COP1) was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995 and has been held in cities all over the world for the last 26 years. The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) is being held in Glasgow this year.

Who is part of the COP?

The UNFCCC which entered into force in 1994, has a near universal membership of 197 parties. The 197 countries have ratified the Convention and are called the Parties of the Convention.

What is the reason for the COP summit?

In a general sense, to bring the countries of the world together and reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations by setting a global goal. The Paris Agreement is one of the most notable and significant outputs of a COP, arising from COP21 in 2015. The Paris Agreement itself maps out the world’s first collective commitment to venture towards a low-carbon future through policy obligations for all countries – to yield no more than 1.5 ˚C (maximum 2 ˚C) of a global temperature increase.

What do we need to achieve at COP26 and why is it so important?

There are a four key objectives that have been identified for COP 26 which are detailed in this report, and an overview of which are highlighted below:

  • Secure global net zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
  • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats to the already changing climate
  • Mobilise climate finance whereby developed countries must deliver on raising $100bn in climate finance per year
  • Finalise the Paris Rulebook (rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement) and turn ambitions into action

With the above in mind and the window of opportunity to remain under 1.5 degrees diminishing, all eyes are on Glasgow on October 31st.

Keep an eye on the COP26 website for updates on the upcoming conference: