This PowerPoint presentation was kindly provided by Joseph Savage, who will be attending COP26 himself and has offered to come and talk about it to us after the event.
And these are the notes Joseph gave us to accompany these slides: they give a great deal more detail.
COP26 PowerPoint Speaking Notes
Feel free to pick and choose the slides that you feel are the most appropriate for your audience!
What is COP26?
For nearly 30 years, the United Nations has brought together almost every country on the planet for global climate summits known as COPs which stands for Conference of the Parties.
The COP is the decision-making body of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN entity tasks with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The Convention has near universal membership (197 Parties) and their COPs are the largest annual United Nations conference, attended on average by around 25,000 participants.
In November, the 26th summit will be hosted by the UK and Italy at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow. Over 190 world leaders are expected to attend, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses, and citizens for twelve days of talks.
Why is COP26 important?
Many people believe that this Conference is the world’s last best chance to get climate change under control and therefore has a particular urgency.
To understand why, it is necessary to look back in time to COP21 that took place in Paris in 2015. For the first time ever, every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees, to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and to make money available to deliver on these aims. This became known as the Paris Agreement.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to bring forward national plans setting out how much they would reduce their emissions known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or ‘NDCs’. They agreed that every five years they would come back with an updated plan that would reflect their highest possible ambition at that time. The run up to this year’s summit in Glasgow is when countries update their plans for reducing emissions.
However, the commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the window for achieving this is closing. The decade out to 2030 will be crucial. Countries must go much further to keep the hope of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive.
What is on the agenda?
The agenda includes talks on mobilising finance to mitigate and help people adapt to climate change, how youth and public voices can be elevated and the role of public empowerment and education in climate action as well as how gender equality can be progressed to include women and girls in climate action.
We have to act urgently
“COP26 presents an opportunity for the world to take immediate action to end the fossil fuel era and start regenerating nature while ensuring that all our remaining natural ecosystems stay intact. As nations look to rebuild their economies in the wake of COVID19, we have seen an emphasis on ‘building back better’ through a green recovery.
More and more countries, businesses, and investors are also coming forward with commitments to decarbonize by 2030 or 2050. But while these long-term commitments send a very important signal, it is the decisions we make today that really matter. What we say yes to. What we say no to and where we choose to invest our human and financial capital right now and not in years to come.
ELIZABETH WATHUTI, GLOBAL SOUTH CO CHAIR OF THE COP26 CIVIL SOCIETY AND YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL
Why does limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees matter?
At 2 degrees of global warming, there would be widespread and severe impacts on people and nature. A third of the world’s population would be regularly exposed to severe heat, leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths.
Almost all warm water coral reefs would be destroyed, and the Arctic sea ice would melt entirely at least one summer per decade, with devastating impacts on the wildlife and communities they support. We cannot rule out the possibility that irreversible loss of ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic could be triggered, leading to several metres of sea level rise over centuries to come.
At 1.5°C, the impacts would be serious, but less severe. There would be lower risks of food and water shortages, lower risks to economic growth and fewer species at risk of extinction. Threats to human health from air pollution, disease, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat would also be lower. That is why every fraction of a degree of warming matters, and why we are dedicated to keeping the prospect of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive.
What needs to be achieved at COP26?
- Secure global net zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees within reach – countries are being asked to produce NDCs that shows their ambitious 2030 targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. In order for these targets to be reached, countries will need to phase out the use of coal, encourage investments in renewable energy and technology, reduce deforestation and accelerate the switch to electric vehicles.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats – As the climate is already changing and will continue to do so even if we reduce emissions, countries are being encouraged to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
- Mobilise finance – in order for the first two goals to be realised, developed countries need to deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn each year in climate finance. International financial institutions need to be encouraged to play their part and work towards making available the trillions of dollars needed to secure global net zero.
- Work together to deliver – Countries and the global population can only rise to the challenges of climate change if everyone works together. Countries need to turn their ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on climate goals faster.
“We need to back nature with the same energy we have seen in relation to the clean technology revolution. As governments plan their economic recoveries from Covid-19, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reconcile our economies with the natural world and deliver a greener, safer and more prosperous future.” Lord Zac Goldsmith MINISTER FOR PACIFIC AND THE ENVIRONMENT
What progress is already being made?
Around 70% of the world’s economy is now committed to reaching net zero emissions, up from 30% when the UK took over as incoming COP Presidency. More than 80 countries have formally updated their NDCs, and all G7 countries have announced new NDC targets that put them on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. Accounting for around half the global economy, all the countries that make up the G7 have updated their 2030 targets to put them on a pathway to net zero by 2050. Solar and wind are now cheaper than new coal and gas power plants in two thirds of countries of the world.
Over 20 countries have joined the Adaptation Action Coalition, building on the 2019 Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience signed by over 120 countries. 1500+ businesses, investors, regions & cities have joined the Race to Resilience all are committed to take action on adaptation to build a resilient future. Over 40 countries and organisations have joined the Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership committing to make 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025.
The OECD estimates that $78.9bn of climate finance was mobilised in 2018. Multilateral development banks estimated that $41.5 billion was provided to developing countries in 2019. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero represents over $70 trillion of assets committed to net zero by 2050. Over 2000 organisations around the world support the Taskforce for Climate- Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). 17 central banks have committed to stress testing their financial system against climate risks.
What can you do to help?
“The eyes of the young people are on COP26 and beyond and every day, minute, and hour that passes without urgent action translates to failing future generations. The climate crisis is already causing loss and damage for so many people and while we may all be in the same storm; we are definitely not all in the same boat. COP26 is an opportunity and a time to move from commitments to real urgent action.”