2021 Glasgow Climate Change Conference Kicks Off

While Americans celebrated Halloween this Sunday, the United Nations (UN) kicked off its Climate Change Conference on October 31. It is slated to continue until November 12.

Over the next two weeks, over 120 world leaders will speak in Glasgow, the seat of the industrial revolution, to negotiate plans for a concerted climate response.

Key events include:

  • The fourth biennial high-level Ministerial Dialog on climate finance
  • The first Ministerial Dialog on climate finance under the Paris Agreement
  • Several workshops and events to advance gender-related issues
  • Annual meeting with the participation of indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge

In many ways, the conference is a rehash of COP 21, in which the Paris Agreement was signed, as well as a continuation of COP25 negotiations. Themes of urgency and disaster once again take a front seat as the UN pushes for governments to mobilize and take more ambitious climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting temperature increases to 1.5C.

Patricial Espinosa gives COP 26 Opening Statement.

“The devastating loss of lives and livelihoods this year due to extreme weather events clarifies how important it is to convene COP26 despite the impacts of the pandemic still being felt. We are on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7C, while we should be heading for the 1.5C goal. Clearly, we are in a climate emergency. Clearly, we need to address it. Clearly, we need to support the most vulnerable to cope. To do so successfully, greater ambition is now critical.”

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates to achieve the 1.5C goal, the world would need a 45% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. With this in mind, leaders seek to reduce emissions by moving “adaptation” to the center of the agenda, while also addressing losses and damages resulting from extreme climate events. Because these losses occur across the globe, the U.N has made providing support to third-world counties a central goal.  

“Financial support is crucial for all elements of the climate change regime, including mitigation, but also in terms of adaptation, capacity-building, technology transfer, and several other elements.”

UN Climate Press Release 10/31

The ambitious unfolding plan calls for action from governments at all levels – national, regional, city – as well as from citizens – especially business owners and investors. To assist these “climate stakeholders,” the U.N. recently developed a new digital Global Innovation Hub, combined with a physical pavilion at COP for climate change events.

Image from U.N. website.

The Hub is designed to facilitate the development and deployment of transformative and innovative climate solutions via a “moonshot approach.” As an example, the U.N. noted that rather than seeking to develop energy-efficient cars, the Hub will “promote climate innovations that challenge the need for a car in the first place.”

How far such ambitious plans will take root remains to be seen.

Post by: CJ Fisher

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