COP26: A make-or-break talks for climate action

October 28, 2021 Thursday


MANILA, 27 October 2021 — Almost 200 nations and territories will finally gather in-person in Glasgow, Scotland for 12 days of global climate action talks and negotiations, also known as 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, after its postponement last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Since 1995, the annual climate change conference has brought together delegates around the world led by heads of state, climate experts and negotiators, government ministries, young people, civil society, faith groups, indigenous peoples and even ordinary citizens to forge a global response to keep the temperature rise below dangerous levels and prevent the climate crisis from causing irreversible consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
 
COP26 will be held across two sites: The Scottish Events Campus (SEC), referred to as the Blue Zone, and the Glasgow Science Centre, known as the Green Zone.
 
The Blue Zone hosts the negotiations. This space brings together delegations from 197 Parties to deliver their statements, stories, and commitments at panel discussions and side events. Meanwhile, the Green Zone is a platform for the general public, youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, business and others to have their voices heard through events, exhibitions, and marches and demonstrations that promote dialogue, awareness, and ambition needed to urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions that have caused the warming of the planet.
 
Four key themes will run in COP26 are for countries and the world to:
·Secure global net zero by mid-century, and keep 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach;
·Urgently adapt to protect communities and natural habitats;
·Mobilize finance; and
·Work together to deliver the means to implement the Paris Agreement.
 
This year’s summit is critical as the countries around the world must make an immediate response to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with levels before the Industrial Revolution, and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
 
This year was described by scientists as humanity’s “last best chance” to reduce emissions enough to keep the planet below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its Working Group 1 report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis 2021,” which shows that the global greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time high due to human activities.
 
More extreme weather events are taking place all over the world - including typhoons, heatwaves, floods and forest fires, which are getting worse because of the effects of climate change. The icecaps are melting and sea levels are rising. The past decade was the warmest on record.
 
Developing countries like the Philippines tend to emit less and are not responsible for most of the emissions but these countries experience some of the worst effects of climate change.
 
The CCC expects the upcoming COP to prioritize the following key areas:
 
Green recovery: COP26 is the first COP since the COVID-19 pandemic. Nations will undoubtedly demand this COP26 to ensure the prioritization of green recovery packages in the global climate ambition. The Philippines, being one of the countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, expects to give preferential attention in pushing this agenda to ensure our pandemic recovery.
 
Increased climate ambition: This is the country's first COP with a submitted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) - which commits to a 75 percent reduction and avoidance of GHG emissions. Moreover, parties are required to submit a new NDC every five years. As it has been five years since the Paris Agreement entered into force, parties are expected to outline their increased climate aspirations on the forthcoming COP, especially from the major carbon emitter countries.
 
Nature-based Solutions: COP26 will begin discussions on how nature-based solutions, such as ecosystems-based practices, can be a climate solution for absorbing greenhouse gases like carbon from the atmosphere.
 
Loss and damage mechanism: This refers to providing technical assistance to the countries that are vulnerable and have difficulties to adapt to the impacts of climate change, resulting in the loss of land, livelihoods, among others. As a developing country, the Philippines shall urge developed nations to honor their climate financing commitments. The assistance that the country can obtain from them can be utilized to substantially improve our adaptive capacity and pave the path towards climate resiliency.
 
The Commission believes that the COP26 will bring major progress since the Paris Agreement and new decisions on how to cut GHG emissions.
 
For the CCC, the forthcoming COP26 should shed a light on the most vulnerable populations, such as women, children and adolescents, persons with disabilities, the elderly, migrants, and indigenous people, who have contributed little to the climate emergency, but are bearing the brunt of the worst consequences of the climate crisis.