Why COP26 is Critical to Achieving Global Warming Targets

Published on by Green Initiatives

During the run-up to COP26, we are taking a look at the key issues of climate change currently facing the world and its leaders. Tasked with finding solutions amid mounting public concern over the situation, these leaders now have an opportunity to make a difference.

This post is the 2nd article related to the COP26 series of posts which focuses on the most important Climate Change Conference hosted by the United Nations scheduled this year. In our previous article, we looked at what the Conference of Parties (COP) is, and how these summits have historically provided a platform to drive forward a worldwide response to climate change. To read the first article, please click here.


With the previous meeting (COP25), not fulfilling all expectations, significant progress towards a green transition is now all the more vital. An imperative further strengthened by the noticeable effects of global warming evidenced around the world. With this in mind, we now turn attention to where we currently standthe challenges which lie ahead, and reasons to be positive – both locally and globally.

unfinished business

Before looking ahead to what new plans could be finalized, there remains some outstanding business from COP25. Despite overrunning by more than 40 hours, many issues from COP25’s agenda were left unresolved.

Riding high amongst these was the agreement of rules regarding “Article 6” of the Paris Accord, the final part of this agreement to be determined. At its core, while all states agree that carbon emission cuts are necessary, they can not agree on how best to govern this action.

source: source: https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/carbon-market-provisions-paris-agreement-article-6/

Although each party is independently responsible towards deciding their own targets, there needs to be a universally recognised way to calculate and measure all achievements. This entails problems such as; initiatives that cross borders (think of flights between countries), and controversial schemes such as ‘carbon credits’ gained by paying for emissions-cutting projects in developing countries to offset their own results. That these rules remain problematic 6-years after the accord was formed indicates just how politically and technically complex it is.

“Article 6 is one of those rare birds that within our system could actually do proactive harm – if those rules are not good enough they are basically giving us licence to print fake money, and if you allow people to print fake money they start paying their bills with fake money.
And in this case, because geophysics doesn’t care about how clever our accounting mechanisms are, it will come back to haunt us.”
Felipe de León Denegri, Costa Rican negotiator

it's all about money

As with most discussions, money also proved to be a sizeable obstacle to proceedings. From investments required to develop greener economies, funding to combat or adapt to the effects of climate change, and compensation for damages caused as a result, financial matters often proved the stumbling block to many technical agreements. Furthermore, a necessary increase in the funding of the UNFCCC itself created resistance amongst several parties.

source: source: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/climate-change-clean-trillion-dollar-investment

This all combined to create a tension throughout COP 25, something which was particularly evident between developing, and developed nations. While financial factors remained problematic, the action was not seen to be forthcoming from the richer nations. For example, although a prior agreement exists for $100bn to be delivered each year from the wealthier nations to support climate change projects in other regions, this remains far from being actualised. Finding a way to channel funds to worthwhile projects around the world will thus be of prime importance to many nations ‘on the front-line of climate change’ when they meet later this November in Glasgow.

NDC - Nationally Determined Contributions

Moving forwards, NDCs are likely to grab many of the headlines this November. These are the long-term goals set out by each nation to both reduce their own emission levels, and to adapt towards sustainable, environmental needs.

source: source: https://www.irena.org/climatechange/NDCs

This year’s conference is especially important in this regard, as all parties must submit updated NDCs every 5-years, this year being once such checkpoint. These submissions are to reflect each party’s highest individual ambitions, outlining a clear progression upon previous pledges. Originally due in 2020, preparations have been afforded more time due to COP26’s postponement at the hands of Covid-19.

“COP26 was always going to be difficult because of the bad politics within some big emitters, but COVID19 has changed the dynamic – although in which direction it is not clear yet.”             
Laurence Tubiana, Chief executive of the European Climate Foundation

With all countries obliged to communicate their plans for mitigating climate change and plans to build-back through a green recovery, this appears to be a huge opportunity for the world as a whole. Although some industries (fossil fuel, agriculture, etc.) appear vulnerable to widespread change and disruption, there are equally countless sectors which will experience growth and redesign through innovation.

source: source: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/27/16365290/renewable-energy-standards-are-working

Jobs, health, education, housing, and lifestyles have all proved susceptible to nature during the recent pandemic. Global Warming and Climate Change are unlikely to show any extra consideration for our needs. Beyond being a problem for governments and politicians to tackle alone, this responsibility should also be shared by societies at large.

source: https://climate.nasa.gov/resources/global-warming-vs-climate-change/

Businesses and communities are likely to be impacted by certain policy changes brought about with these refined visions. As such, active engagement will be necessary from grassroots and above, ensuring every chance of success is fulfilled. COP26 may be a focal point for taking steps to align ourselves once more with nature, yet there are many local events which allow us all to make contributions and set goals towards attaining this unified ambition.

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.

Event Itinerary

  • 16:30-17:00 Registration
  • 17:00-17:10 Opening Remark
  • 17:10-17:20 Keynote 1: COP26 Overview
  • 17:20-17:30 Keynote 2: Adapting to the Climate Crisis
  • 17:30-18:45 Panel Discussion 1: Low Carbon Economy Transition for business
  • 18:45-19:00 Break & Networking
  • 19:00-20:15 Panel Discussion 2: Solutions Towards Carbon Emissions
  • 20:15-20:25 Keynote 3: China’s Carbon Neutral Commitment: The Next Big Business Opportunity
  • 20:25-20:30 Closing Remarks
  • 20:30-21:30 Drinks & Networking

Click here for more information.