Updated: Oct 4
First and foremost - what in the world was COP26?
COP26 (or Conference of Parties 26) was an event hosted as a global United Nations summit centered around the topic of climate change - also known as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the main aim was to bring the countries of the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) together and unite them in a way that will enable the world to eliminate this issue, though intended to take place in the November of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was to take place between 31st October and 12th November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Overall, governments will come together on this yearly occasion and address ways in which this problem can be solved, with this year's conference considered to be the most important two weeks that the world will ever face with regards to climate change.
What exactly was the intention of this event?
With the countries who had participated in the COP21 of 2015 signing a legally binding agreement aligned with both limiting global warming to under 2 (though ideally 1.5) degrees Celsius and setting out to bring forth Nationally Determined Contributions (which were plans for their nation in setting out to reduce carbon emissions) it had been decided for the reviewing of the progress made to be held in five years time - during COP26. Thus, Going Green 24/7 believe that this was a key purpose for the summit, with this particular event being the most important yet and a total of 197 states and 120 world leaders will attend in hopes of working together in fighting against all these odds.
Besides this, however, COP26 also wishes for four key ideas to be addressed - these are to secure global net zero by mid-century (and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach), adapt in order to protect communities/natural habitats (through restoring ecosystems and avoiding lives/homes/livelihoods lost), gather at least $100 billion in climate finance each year, and work with one another in delivering these goals (by means of completing the Pairs Rulebook and accelerating the rate of climate action). Altogether, with the United Nations believing that these four aims can only be fulfilled if each and every country gives their input and ideas on how solutions can be found we feel that these goals are another major reason for COP26 being initiated.
With climate change still continuing to press again the entire globe, planet-scale participation and cooperation truly was (and still is) needed. Therefore, COP26 provides such opportunity for voices to be heard, with a firm belief being held that insight from various different points of view in numerous different countries was indeed what we need in order to combat and conquer our current challenge.
What does COP26 have to do with us?
COP26 will matter to each and every single being on earth - as previously mentioned, holding so much importance to the future of this planet this particular summit will bring many new decisions with regards to the actions we take against climate change. Therefore, whether we like it or not we are required to understand what changes we may face in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, since improvements are inevitably coming (and thus direct influence to our lives will indeed occur). For example, should world leaders decide to get all people to drive electric cars, diminish the use of gas heating, consume less meat, or travel overseas a lot less then we as the people must comply for our own good. Therefore, gaining knowledge on the whole purpose of COP26 will enable you to get more prepared for what is to come, and will ensure that you are well informed on the modifications that will come in just a matter of time.
This Climate Conference also holds so much importance to us because of the whole problem it was trying to resolve - climate change. Some of the impacts it already has on each and every single one of our lives include:
Harm to our health - Rising temperatures bring heatwaves (which overpower the human body and cause dehydration, heatstroke, and major organ damage), pollution brings poor air quality/wildfires (which penetrate one's lungs and lead to burning eyes, heart/lung diseases, and even death), and vector-borne diseases bring illnesses (which, as the earth gets warmer, enable viruses to travel faster by means of insects/arachnids).
More extreme weather - As water evaporates into the atmosphere on both land and sea (returning to the earth in the form of rain and snow), as the world warms up the rate of evaporation from the oceans begins to increase and cause storms capable of immense destruction. Though at first this may appear as a good way to gain healthier/wetter soil, since rain which falls as vicious downpour won't soak into the ground gently it will instead run into rivers and gets carried back to the sea. Thus, as this is simply a continuous cycle no water gets absorbed and the land gets drier and drier over time.
Reduced water security - Water is a human essential for everyone, with the lack of it causing death within just a short amount of time. As the increase in global temperatures due to climate change clearly lead to droughts (as mentioned before), places like Cape Town are only receiving about half their average annual rainfall. Therefore, as this process is only continuing each day it is only a matter of time before whole countries fall from the devastating impacts of low water security. Harm to agriculture/food - With farmers around the world dependent on stable climates in order to grow the crops they need to have food on the table, with climate change leading to more droughts, floods, and extreme weather harvests can simply get washed or withered away in a matter of time (through these unstable conditions which are hard to adapt to). Overall, though many argue that carbon dioxide serves as food for these plants and that mass downpour helps to keep vegetation nourished, more harm actually ends up being done to both the farmer and their crops instead.
Harm to the economy - With extreme weather related to the effects of climate change having clear links to economic repercussions, we can understand that the more wildfires, droughts, floods, and other environmental hazards occur the more money needs to be spent for recovery. In other words, because severe events may cause immense damage to costly infrastructure and other expensive resources it is easy for several billion dollars to get spent in order to restore everything and everyone that needs restoration.
Despite the fact that humanity has denied the existence of this problem for many, many years we all know deep down that something must be done. Therefore, COP26 serves as a way for new ideas and plans that may help to dissipate it to be established within governments, which evidently affects each person with full force.
COP26 has already ended, hasn't it? Why should I continue to hold interest in it?
If it is of your interest to take part in the climate initiative and support the work that COP26 is doing against the ever-growing crisis at hand, you can take part in the global scheme known as the Race to Zero - created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a way to reach science-based targets (such as accomplishing net zero by 2050) by community support (e.g. through certain businesses, cities, regions, or investors), it is a campaign that intends to form the leadership that people need in order to prevent future threats and enable for sustainable growth. In fact, benefits can even be reaped from this initiative too, with one example being that a business who joins the Race to Zero will be capable of:
being recognized as credible and science-based
joining a community of members who span from numerous regions/sectors and will share their practices
accessing communication tools that assist in the coming of future COP events
playing a vital role in the the times of need for climate action
receiving support in achieving any desired goals
All in all, COP26 will not be the only response to climate change that we will have - there is still more work to be done. Thus, in order save our planet from the harm that is to come a joined effort is needed in bringing a halt to both our ignorance of this challenge and the carbon emissions produced each and every single day.