Success at COP26

The new normal we face in 2020 is not what one might have imagined just a few years ago. Increasingly adverse instances of natural disasters, fuelled by climate change, are amongst the most pressing issues affecting the global community. Amidst repeated dire warnings from the scientific community, in the last year we have seen catastrophic bushfires in Australia, preceded by deathly forest fires in the Amazon, flooding of urban centres across the world and melting glaciers, making it clearer than ever before that urgent climate action is indispensable. In this context, although the climate negotiations may seem slow-paced and far removed from the reality of the situation, they remain the best hope for catalysing the required coordinated global action at scale and representatives from over 190 Parties have been working towards mobilizing collective action to mitigate and adapt to climate change at the successive UN Conference of Parties (COP).

The last COP in Madrid failed to raise the necessary commitments towards ambition. However, to call the COP25 a complete failure would be devoid of a holistic view. It is imperative to note that COP25 contributed significantly towards furthering technical work on impending issues, including those related to finalizing the Rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

As we move to COP26 in Glasgow, which carries the weight of the unresolved issues from the preceding COP, the stakes get higher for what it might hold in store for the global climate agreement. At the outset, apart from enhancing commitments and crystallising the details on operationalizing carbon markets and trading (Article 6), some other crucial discussion areas will pertain to long term strategies especially around sectors beyond electricity, reliable finance and technology cooperation between developed and developing nations. Roles, actions and promised contributions by developed and developing countries together will matter significantly making this COP a success.

COP26 comes at a time where expectations for real climate action from the global community is more than ever before. The stakes could hardly be higher and the challenges ahead are equally consequent. Citizen mobilisation coupled with non-decreasing emissions threatening the achievement of 2°C target, demand effective leadership from Glasgow this year.

Guiding Questions
  • What does success at COP 26 essentially mean?
  • What can be done differently at COP 26, so as to remove the ‘Trust Deficit’?
  • How can sub-national/non-state actors be brought into the fight against climate change?
  • How can youth be constructively involved in the designing and outcomes of COP 26?
  • How can coalitions across governments and businesses support finance and technology mobilisation? What can COP26 do to ensure this?