From October 31 to November 12, more than 20,000 people from across the planet are expected to assemble at the United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021, also known as COP26, in Glasgow.
COP26 stated goals are: “1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach; 2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats; 3. Mobilise finance; 4. Work together to deliver.”
The world leaders in government and business, scientists, and activists attending this event know climate change is occurring now and poses a grave risk to that which we hold most dear. These folks understand we have a worldwide mess. If there is no course correction, we are headed toward global disaster, but we can take measures now to change course.
At the beginning of the conference, world leaders will give national statements that “set out the ambitious actions that they are taking domestically and internationally, and to send a clear message to ministers, negotiators and observers to work together in Glasgow to accelerate urgent action this decade.”
Each conference programme (Presidency Programme and Green Zone Programme) reflects the complexity of the many issues with which conference attendees must grapple. They also reveal that voices from a wide spectrum will be heard during this nearly two-week-long event.
For example, among the topics featured in the Presidency Programme are finance, energy, science and innovation, transport, and adaptation, loss and damage.
The Green Zone Programme includes a wide variety of events. Among these are events about climate and the deep sea world, African Women’s Grassroots Climate Action, changing consumer behavior, working with people to take action on climate change, and poets for the planet by spoken word artists.
At this time, we do not know whether conference attendees will realize any of the four stated COP26 goals.
We also do not know whether world leaders will follow the advice of scientists. Among scientists there is a growing consensus that the world cannot wait until the year 2050 to reach net zero planet-harming emissions.
When – by what date certain – will world leaders agree to take measures to reach net zero by the date scientists identify?