The 26th annual meeting on climate change, COP26, is being held in Glasgow in 2021. COP stands for Conference of Parties, which refers to the annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, the UNFCCC is not the only convention to have a COP. Other, treaties like the UN Convention against Corruption, also have a COP. The UNFCCC is the only COP that meets annually and has 197 signatories. This annual meeting is held in different countries.
For example, its 21st summit was held in Paris in 2015 and was called COP21. The purpose of the COP meetings is to assess the progress of countries in advancing the goals related to climate change. One of these goals is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Agreed in 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement was a landmark moment in the fight against climate change.
COP21 in Paris
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016. The goal of the treaty is to reduce global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation based on the best available science. The Paris Agreement works on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
COP26 in Glasgow
The UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) comes as the people of the planet face severe climate and environmental crises. People have higher expectations of the world’s major economic powers to deal with the crises. COP26 was to take place from 9-19 November 2020. However, it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemc. It is now scheduled for 31 October – 12 November 2021. COP26 in Glasgow will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
According to Euronews, representatives from over 190 countries are going to attend COP26 in Glasgow. World leaders and tens of thousands of negotiators, along with members of the press, are expected to attend. Moreover, as stated in Euronews, environmental researchers have warned that too little has been done in Europe over the last five years to get on track with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, they say that it is not too late. COP26 in Glasgow is viewed as the successor to COP21, the greatest success for the UNFCCC in recent years. COP26 is to address what has and hasn’t been achieved since 2015. It is also an opportunity for world leaders to set plans to reach the Paris Agreement goals.
UK’s Climate Leadership
According to openDemocracy, the UK claims to be a world leader in fighting climate change. However, this isincorrect . At home, the British government outsources its responsibility to decarbonise, and abroad it fails its historic responsibility to mitigate carbon emissions. The government has long touted the UK’s climate leadership on the world stage. As the UK prepares to host COP26, its image as a climate leader will be projected around the world. However, the UK’s mottos do not match reality. In fact, about half of UK’s carbon generation relates to goods and services imported from other countries, but consumed in the UK. Neither the official figures nor the UK’s net-zero target account for this. The British government overlooks the fact that it is outsourcing a significant proportion of its emissions to other countries.
Britain to Give Up Crude Oil and Coal
British leadership in the field of climate necessitates Britain giving up gas, crude oil and coal. It should be noted that these fossil sources of energy are advantages for the UK economy. Moreover, Britain does not seem to be able to meet its energy needs without fossil fuels.
For instance, according to the BBC, the British government has announced that no gas boilers will be installed after 2035. From next year (2022), households will be able to replace gas boilers with heat pumps with a £ 5,000 grant. Critics say the £450–million budget allocated to the programme over the next three years will be enough for just 90,000 households. However, up to 25 million UK homes have gas boilers. This indicates the country’s dependency on fossil fuels.
A government energy body told Reuters that there is a warning from the world’s top energy watchdog to rein in fossil fuel spending. Despite this warning, the UK will not commit to halting new oil exploration in the North Sea. “We are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels; however, there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas,” the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in response to emailed questions from Reuters.
According to openDemocracy, the UK gives more subsidies to fossil fuel companies than any other European country. In addition, the British government recently granted new oil and gas exploration licences and permits for the North Sea. It is also attempting to open a new coal mine in Cumbria. Does the British government really mean to eliminate fossil fuels from the UK’s energy sources?