COP26 kicks-off; 2015-2021 set to be the warmest on record

November 02, 2021 Tuesday

Photo from the World Meteorological Organization

MANILA, 2 November 2021
 — The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) officially starts this week, with the primary goal of increasing ambition and enhancing the Paris Agreement's implementation guidelines to keep the goal of limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

COP26 President Alok Sharma, MP of the United Kingdom, vowed to move the negotiations forward by resolving the outstanding issues, promoting opportunities for green growth, green jobs, and cheaper, cleaner energy, and launching a decade of every increasing ambition and action.
“The rapidly changing climate is sounding an alarm to the world, to step up on adaptation, to address loss and damage, and to act now to keep 1.5C alive. We know that this COP, COP26, is our last best hope to keep 1.5C in reach, and I know that we have an unprecedented negotiations agenda ahead of us. But I believe, this international system can deliver,” said Sharma.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa called upon the Parties to complete the necessary work towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Aside from lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris Agreement should prioritize adaptation agenda, address loss and damage from extreme weather events, and increase the provision of support to developing countries.
“We need to significantly increase financial support, especially for the most vulnerable countries. We also need to accelerate the development and implementation of National Adaptation Plans. A clear path to solutions exists. I call upon all Parties to recapture the spirit of multilateralism that resulted in the adoption of the Paris Agreement and fulfill their commitments under it,” said Espinosa.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairperson Dr. Hoesung Lee highlighted the importance of science in shaping government policies. Prior to the COP, the IPCC released in August the first part of its ongoing Sixth Assessment Report, which laid out the most up-to-date physical science basis for the understanding of the climate system and climate change.
“I encourage everyone to seize the moment, seize the opportunity this gathering offers. We, the scientific community, are ready to work with you on the understanding of scientific evidence of climate change, its impacts and adaptions and how these translate into realities of climate action,” said Dr. Lee.
76th UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid echoed the key messages from the membership of the General Assembly, which include accelerating efforts to ensure that all countries have access to the latest technological innovations; ensure that monetary pledges to net-zero targets are utilized, prioritized, or measured; ensure 50/50 split, in adaptation and mitigation financing; and lead the youth towards blue and green economies.
“Only one variable remains, and it is us. We have to make the choice to address climate change. We have to choose the hard but necessary actions. We have to listen to the science and, increasingly, our global population, who are demanding action,” said Shahid.
Coinciding with the opening of COP26 is the release of the provisional ‘State of the Global Climate 2021’ by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report draws from the latest scientific evidence to show how the planet is changing “before our eyes.”
The study provides a snapshot of climate indicators such as greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, extreme weather, sea level, ocean warming and ocean acidification, glacier retreat and ice melt, as well as socio-economic impacts.
The report finds that the past seven years, including 2021, are likely to be the warmest on record as greenhouse gases reached record concentrations in the atmosphere. Moreover, global sea level rise accelerated to a new high in 2021, with continued ocean warming and ocean acidification.
Based on the data from the months of January to September of this year, the global mean temperature was about 1.09°C above the 1850-1900 average. This may place 2021 as the sixth or seventh warmest year on record globally. But the ranking may change at the end of the year.
Following the release of the report, the Philippines, through the statement of Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., asked the developed and industrialized countries “to absorb the brunt of hard solutions” and “help those will less capacity, who even now are taking as much of the brunt as they can, without equivocation or purpose of evasion.”
The 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC or #COP26 is a global gathering to adopt an action plan for all countries to tackle the climate crisis together. It takes place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. To know the latest updates about the COP26, visit