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What is COP26: Here’s What You Need to Know.

Paynesville – World leaders and representatives of various organizations have gathered again for another very important summit on climate change. The threat of climax change is becoming even more palpable as calls to reduce emission continue to heighten. The year’s conference has gained massive traction. So, what is COP26? Here are some basic facts you need to know.

Conference of the Parties of COP

COP is the Conference of the Parties. It can be traced back to the United Nation’s first major conference on the environment and development. The parties are the national and international governments of the world.

COP is intended to review the national communications and emission inventories submitted by all countries. Based on this information, the summit assesses the effects of the measures taken by nations and the progress made in achieving the ultimate objective of the convention. It is held once every year unless the parties decide otherwise.

The first COP summit was held in 1995 in Berlin, Germany where a mandate was adopted requesting countries to initiate talks to reduce emission beyond the year 2000. Two years of negotiations eventually led to the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in Japan at COP3, setting binding targets for 37 countries to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 also set long term goals for all nations to include reducing global greenhouse gas emission  in order to limit increasing temperature to tow degree Celsius while pursing efforts to limit it to a further 1.5 degree Celsius.


The last summit, COP25, was held in Madrid Spain under the leadership of Chile. COP25. That gathering set an objective of going beyond the targets set in the Paris Agreement.

What’s happening this year?

COP26 is the biggest climate conference after the Paris Agreement and also tagged as the largest gathering of world leaders ever to be hosted by the UK. It is the first to review and strengthen the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

At this year COP 26 summit, around 120 world leaders have gathered in Glasgow, Scotland lunching two weeks of negotiations to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

What is being said at COP26?

There are over 100 world leaders attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Top world leaders at the summit include US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, France President Emmanuel Macron, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Notable absentees are Russia President Vladimir Putin, China’s president Xi Jinping and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

Many world leaders have made statements at the summit with US President Biden recommitted his country to the Paris Agreement, stressing that his administration will make “historic investment” in clean energy “to deal with climate crisis than any advance nation have ever made”.

According to The Guardian China President Xi Jinping, who is not attending the conference in person, in his written statement called on developed countries to help provide support for developing countries to do better in dealing with climate crisis.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is the host of COP26, called on world leaders to “move from aspiration to action” in order to slow global warming.

At COP26, Liberia President George Weah, who was among world leaders to address the summit on the opening day, highlighted the imbalances in climate financing and made the case for additional financing support to countries like Liberia that has huge forest reserves.

President Weah proposed the establishment of the Africa Carbon Credit Trading Mechanism which, he said, will be a solution to the “mismatch in climate investment”.

Source: United Nations Climate Action


What are COP26 Targets?

The goals of COP26 include securing global net zero by the year 2050 and halve emission by 2030 to reduce the world temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius — this means the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produce and the amount remove from the atmosphere.

COP26 also seeks to adapt agreements to protect communities and natural habitats through protecting and restoring ecosystems, building defenses, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure.

The summit is also aiming to mobilize at least US$100 billion in climate finance per year to

deliver on achieving global net zero, which means emissions be balanced by also absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

Some countries that are expected to benefit from the US$100 billion in climate finance are developing nations that are vulnerable to climate crisis such as Haiti, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, and Kenya among others.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Bahamas were the most affected countries by extreme weather events in 2019 followed by Japan, Malawi and Afghanistan.

Another target is for countries to work together to mitigate the challenges of the climate crisis. This includes finalizing the detailed rules book – this makes the Paris Agreement operational. It will enhance action to tackle climate crisis through collaboration amongst governments, businesses, and civil society.

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Local Voices Liberia is a network of dedicated Liberian journalists based in the 15 counties working to lift the development concerns and progress of rural communities.

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