What does COP26 stand for and what is COP about?

·6-min read

Watch: What is COP26 and how will it affect the future of climate change?

The UK is set to host the COP26, bringing together more than 190 world leaders to discuss climate change.

Alok Sharma, appointed full-time president, is leading the government’s efforts ahead of the 2021 climate change summit.

In the weeks before the summit, the government announced a number of green initatives, such as grants of £5,000 made available to households to replace their gas boiler with a low carbon heat pump.

Mr Johnson announced large scale investment in to green industries in a partnership with Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to drive an extra £200 million of private sector investment in climate-friendly power schemes in the UK.

But what exactly is the COP26 and what does it hope to achieve?

What is COP26 and what does the 26 in COP stand for?

Every year, the United Nations holds a global climate change conference known as a COP which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.

This year marks the 26th anniversary, giving it the name COP26 with the UK as its president.

Among the largest international meetings in the world, the summit is regarded by many to be the world’s last best chance to get runaway climate change under control.

It is seen as a critical opportunity to win more ambitious country-to-country commitments on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius this century.

The UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change in the run up.

When is the COP26 summit and where is it?

The COP26 will take place in November at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.

It is part of the C40 Cities network, a group of nearly 100 major cities worldwide working for faster action on climate change.

Talks will run for 12 days from October 31 to November 12.

Who is attending COP26 and is Greta Thunberg going?

More than 190 world leaders are expected to attend the Glasgow summit along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, citizens and businesses.

The Queen pulled out of the COP26 conference in Glasgow after she was advised by doctors to rest, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday.

Greta Thunberg is the latest to add her name to the list, joining others including Pope Francis, US President Joe Biden, presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, and Sir David Attenborough.

Initially, she believed that the summit should be postponed saying the UK government should wait until global vaccination rates have risen.

However, Ms Thunberg has changed her stance, as confirmed in a statement she gave after the publication of the UN’s IPCC Report on August 9th, 2021.

“I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to go if it wasn’t fair,” Ms Thunberg said. “But now they say that they will vaccinate all the delegates that are going there. If that’s considered fair and safe, then I will hopefully attend.”

The natural historian also has a role at the conference, as COP26 People’s Advocate, in a bid to convince world leaders climate change is a real threat.

What do they hope to achieve?

The COP26 summit brings parties together to speed up action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Its aims are:

  • To secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

  • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

  • Mobilise finance, with developed countries making good on their promise of at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020

  • Finalising the Paris Rulebook, that make the Paris Agreement work, and accelerating action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and society

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change.

“It is with ambition, courage and collaboration as we approach the crucial COP26 summit in the UK that we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.”

What is the UK doing about climate change?

In the run up to Cop26, Mr Johnson has called for billions of investment into green technologies. He announced a new partnership with Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to drive an extra £200 million of private sector investment in green power schemes in the UK.

Speaking at the Government’s Global Investment Summit on October 19, Mr Johnson said the power of consumer choice and the trillions of dollars able to be invested by companies were essential for creating green growth and jobs.

Downing Street said plans being announced at the summit would see £9.7 billion of new overseas investment in the UK, creating 30,000 additional jobs.

The Prime Minister said the “green industrial revolution”, the freedom to deviate from European Union regulations after Brexit and the “levelling up” agenda were three reasons why firms should invest in the UK.

Meanwhile, it was announced that grants of £5,000 will be available to households to replace their gas boiler with a low carbon heat pump as part of efforts to cut emissions from homes.

The Government announced the grants as it confirmed a target for all new heating system installations to be low carbon by 2035 but insisted families are not going to be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boilers.

Switching to low carbon heating in the coming years will cut emissions, and reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels and exposure to global price spikes in gas, ministers said.

But experts and environmental groups warned the £450 million three-year pot to switch from boilers would only pay for 30,000 heat pumps a year, a fraction of what is needed to meet Government targets.

Elsewhere, the government has pledged that new petrol and diesel vehicles will no longer be sold by 2030 and legally binding targets will be introduced to restore nature and radical reforms to agricultural subsidies.

A Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution has been set out by Mr Johnson which aims to help the UK reach its climate commitments.

At the same time, it should create thousands of highly skilled jobs with many more Britons earning a living from clean green jobs.

Watch: What is the Paris Agreement?

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