Countdown To Zero: Can COP26 Get Us There?

Published on by Green Initiatives

The fact that we have entered a critical decade in terms of climate action seems irrefutable. Extreme weather events are increasing in both frequency and intensity, average global temperatures continue to rise, established rain patterns are changing, ocean currents are noticeably altering. These are just some of the indicators which reveal how the world is being impacted.

How we act in the face of this threat will largely decide upon how we move forwards together. With COP26 on the horizon, we have the ideal platform to coordinate and implement plans that can maintain a planet suitable for human existence.


Ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change conference being held in Glasgow later this year, we are casting an eye over some of the themes likely to prove central to this November’s summit. Our previous articles focused on how the Conference of Parties (COP) has, and can, paved a way forward for unified solutions. To understand more about COP26, its importance and relevance to achieving global warming targets, click the picture below to read the first two parts of this series.

Missed targets are a serious concern

“Despite all the promises to take action, the world is still on course to heat up to dangerous levels” - that's the latest blunt assessment of the United Nations. Its experts have studied the climate plans of more than 100 countries and concluded that we're heading in the wrong direction. Scientists recently confirmed that to avoid the worst impacts of hotter conditions, global carbon emissions needed to be cut by 45% by 2030.


But this new analysis shows that those emissions are set to rise by 16% during this period. That could eventually lead to a temperature rise of 2.7C above pre-industrial times - far above the limits set by the international community.

“From now on, we are fighting a battle on two fronts: we have to fight to slash emissions while investing the same level of energy to adapt to a global climate emergency. Millions of lives and the safety of communities around the world are already at stake”

Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation

climate actions around the world

It has been a little under six years since 196 countries negotiated the Paris Agreement, under which they committed to taking concrete climate actions.


Since then, there have been a lot of discussions, negotiations, and announcements, but very few have truly taken concrete actions. Just a handful of countries who signed the agreement have actually passed laws to formalize their commitments. The remaining nations are still either still discussing their targets or still formulating policy documents.

The UK government declared 2020 as a “year of climate action”. The host nation is looking to control negotiations, striking a strong but fair image. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is set to attend COP26.


Denmark is one of the first countries around the world to pass a law that makes not acting on climate change illegal. Norway plans to more than triple its national tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030 to help it reach its climate goals, thus increasing the cost of emitting.


The Netherlandsin agreement with certain high emitting key industries has formulated a National Climate Agreement. They aim to make reducing carbon emissions feasible and affordable for everyone. India has voluntarily committed to reducing the greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.


After retracting its commitment to the Paris Agreement, The United States of America has re-joined the pact this year and has committed to a $2 trillion “clean energy revolution”. China has pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This includes strict control on coal generation until 2025 and concurrent boost in investments and renewable energy infrastructure developments, not just domestically, but around the world.


IndiaUSA, and China are the world’s top 3 carbon emitters, accounting for nearly half of all carbon emissions globally. All actions and commitments from these 3 nations are critical to achieving global warming targets. Bhutan and Suriname are currently the only countries in world who are already carbon neutral.


While governments around the world play a major role in forming policies, boosting investment, and creating a conducive environment for positive climate action; the real transition to a low carbon economy will happen only when businesses take the lead.

Climate Action Conference Shanghai

In November 2021, the United Kingdom will host the 26th annual Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, where heads of state, climate experts, and leaders come together to address.

Green Initiatives will host the Climate Action Conference Shanghai with support from PwC China, The United States Consulate General, The British Consulate General, The Australian Consulate-General, The Norwegian Consulate General, and The Consulate-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Click here for more information.