COP26: Will it be different this time?

After being delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 crisis, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, will take place in Glasgow from 1 – 12 November 2021.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described 2021 as a “make or break year” in the fight against the climate emergency and underlined that long-term commitments must be matched by immediate actions to launch the decade of transformation that people and the planet so desperately need.

The United Kingdom and Italy, who are co-hosting COP26, agreed on the need to build back better following the impact of COVID-19. They have set the focus of the conference on four goals: a step change in commitments to emissions reduction, strengthening adaptation to climate change impacts, getting finance flowing for climate action, and enhancing international collaboration.

Achieving those goals won’t be easy as several challenges are looming. There is the unresolved issue of long-standing divisions on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which sets out a mechanism for regulating the international carbon market, and agreeing on a post-2020 rulebook for international emissions trading. Additional challenges include persuading countries with the highest emissions to commit to be ambitious and ensuring further collaboration between governments and industry to reach climate goals.

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