COP26: Learn the Lingo

What is COP26? Why does it matter? And what do all our green buzzwords really mean?

COP stands for ‘Conference of Parties’.

It’s the 26th annual meeting of nations to talk about climate change. That’s where we get the title COP26. This November, the meeting is being held in Glasgow.

The Paris Agreement is a climate treaty that was agreed in 2015 at COP21, which was held in, you guessed it, Paris.

Countries set their own climate targets and their pledges are voluntary, meaning no nation is legally required to meet this goal. The aim is to keep warming “well below” two degrees. Sounds a bit flimsy, doesn’t it? Well, every five years, nations have to revisit their promises and strive to increase their ambition. “COP26 is the first test of the Paris Agreement’s ability to get countries to increase their ambitions to meet what the science demands,” Nick Mabey, CEO of the climate think tank E3G, has said.

Net zero is all about the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas put into the atmosphere and the amount removed.

Put simply, we reach net zero when the amount we add is the same as what we take away.

The UK government, who are hosting COP26, are lobbying nations and big business to reach global net zero by 2050. They believe this is important to keep warming no more than 1.5C.

In order to do keep warming down, the next decade is crucial. By 2030, emissions need to come down drastically. Countries will need to limit deforestation, phase out coal, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and convince big business to invest in renewable energy.

Countries will also need to adapt and help protect communities and natural habitats where climate change is already happening, with devastating effects – whether it be decimated crops or flooded homes.

COP26 will take place at SEC Centre in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021.

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