COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, is the 26th annual summit in a series of gatherings aimed at addressing climate change. The acronym COP stands for “Conference of Parties”, which will have international delegates, negotiators government representatives, media and citizens as its attendees. COP conferences generally deal with the adaptation strategies, costs, and emissions limitation goals related to climate change and international economies’ response to it. COP26 will take place November 1st, 2021 (lasting until November 12, 2021) in Glasgow.
More than 190 international leaders are expected to attend COP26 this year to keep the hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (above that of the preindustrial epoch) alive. Climate change has become a central issue since the first COP conference took place in Paris, 2015. Despite the Paris Climate Agreement’s legally binding nature, the document’s participants do not appear to be on track to sufficiently limit global warming. Without appropriate action, our environmental, economic and adaptation targets are mere dreams.
COP26 and Developing Nations
Leaders and political representatives participating in the COP26 will discuss loss and damage that is already associated with climate change, this will presumably include infrastructure damage from floods and worsened storms. Unfortunately, poorer and developing nations are expected to be the first to experience the effects of climate change on property and civilian livelihood. This means that citizens from less developed nations are putting considerable pressure on COP26 delegates to implement meaningful changes. Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Bolivia are among the countries who’s citizens are publicly demanding climate justice.
The frustrations of developing nations comes from the rather slow rate of change being instituted by more developed countries. Sonam P. Wangdi of Bhutan, a representative and chair of the least developed countries group of UNFCCC said that “…climate change has been getting worse over the past year as emissions continue to rise and the lives and livelihoods on the frontline suffer”. Bhutan went on to explain that richer countries are most liable for the climate change crisis. Which is fair to say.
If I may paraphrase Sonam P. Wangdi further, richer nations have two primary responsibilities: the first, to reduce their adverse environmental impact through substantial emissions cuts. And secondly, to keep their promise to help the citizens that are presently experiencing the harms associated with climate change.