COP26: What you need to know

COP26 has begun! Yesterday kicked off with the procedural opening of negotiations, and the next 2 days will deliver the World Leader’s Summit, which puts forward high level ambition and action towards securing global net-zero and keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees.

Whilst we’ll have a particularly keen interest in what’s to come in Energy (4th November), Science and Innovation (9th November), Transport (10th November) and Cities, Regions & Built Environment (11th November), the holistic message across all topics is paramount. You can find the full agenda here.

CEO at Wattstor, Stephan Marty commented:

“Whilst technological advances and economics often dictate and push policy on individual country levels, COP26 is pivotal in creating unity across the globe when it comes to clear goal setting for green initiatives. COP helps to get every country on the same page and creates the opportunity for support to be put in place to bring those less advanced into the fold.

We’ll be waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the conference, with the hope that there’s a greater sense of urgency around the climate crisis and the technology and innovations that will underpin it.

Whist goal-setting and discussion is key, we’ll also be very keen to see that there is action taken and that the leaders are walking the walk, not just talking the talk.”

So, what is COP26?

Almost every year for the past 3 decades, the UN has brought together almost every country on earth for global climate summits. These summits are called COPs, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.

Within the relatively short timescale since the beginning of these summits, climate change has accelerated in importance to the status of global priority. This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. The UK is this year’s President, with COP26 taking place in Glasgow.

This year’s summit is the moment when countries update their plans for reducing emissions. The commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the window for achieving this is closing.

COP26 is crucial in paving the path to a net-zero future.

The COP story so far…

A timeline showing the milestones prior to COP26


Credit for timeline data: Global Citizen 


What can we expect this time?

The goals, as set out in the COP26 Explained document are as follows:


Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets. These nationally determined contributions (NDCs) need to align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to accelerate the phaseout of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.


The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change. In the first place we need to protect and restore ecosystems. We then need to build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient. We need to do all this to ultimately avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.


To realise our first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. International financial institutions must play their part and we need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.


We can only then rise to the challenges of climate change by working together. At COP26 we must unquestionably finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement). And, we have to turn our ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on our climate goals faster.


For more information on how your business or community can affordably and accessibly can create an intelligent on-site net-zero strategy, speak to one of our friendly experts.


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