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What was COP26 and what did it involve?

COP26 was a climate change conference held in November 2021.

Our planet, climate change and renewable energy are all topics we’re passionate about. We’ve written about each of these things on our Heating advice hub in the past and explained how you can do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint at home. In fact, 70% of the world’s economy has pledged to reach net zero emissions for the future.

But in order to make earth-changing decisions, understand the devastating impact of climate change and put a plan in place to reduce carbon emissions, it’s important that all the involved countries come together, and this is where COP26 comes into play.

What was COP26?

COP26 (Conference of Parties) was the UN Climate Change Conference and took place between 31st October and 12th November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Its name comes from the fact that it was the 26th climate change conference held by the UN.

The conference itself was held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), a venue that’s committed to reducing its environmental impact and its carbon footprint, and has won the Gold Green Tourism Award. The event was fully carbon neutral and was held in Glasgow because of its reputation as one of the greenest cities in Europe and its strict carbon-neutrality deadline of 2030.

Why is COP26 important?

Well-known broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough has already warned that we could face almost irreversible damage to the natural world if we don’t drastically change our way of living. This is why COP26 was so important.

The summit gathered numerous parties together from around 200 countries across politics, business and wider societal spheres to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in order to save our planet for ours and future generations. Attenborough has warned that the earth’s temperature has increased by one degree since the industrial revolution and the current prediction is that it could reach three degrees by 2100. This could have devastating impacts on our planet, and so COP26 is campaigning to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees. The event will also outline how we can adapt to protect natural habitats, including important ecosystems, and how the badly damaged ones can be restored to what they once were.

In order to deliver the goals above, developed countries must also be able to mobilise at least $100 billion in climate finance per year, an enormous amount but one that is required to reverse the damage done to our planet.

When was the last climate change conference?

The last climate change conference was COP25, which was held in December 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

What was spoken about at COP26?

The main goal for COP26 was to finalise the Paris Rulebook and accelerate action to tackle climate change, doing more to save the planet. The Paris Rulebook is a 200-page document that was developed at COP24 and is the first official report to outline implementation guidelines. So far, it represents a skeleton agreement and a final agreement couldn’t be reached at COP25 in Madrid. In preparation for this year’s conference, countries were asked to formally submit their proposals in the hope that it will speed up the decision-making process. COP26 should see the document finalised and completed.

This process was completed by various governmental bodies and climate experts during the conference in the Blue Zone. This was a special zone for UN officials, related organisations, media and press officials and delegates from other countries. It’s the more formal aspect of the conference and where the main issues will be discussed. As well as finalising the Paris Agreement, attendees wish to discuss phasing out coal as an energy source altogether and stopping deforestation.

Also in the Blue Zone, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) hosted some events, from briefings to negotiation support.

The Green Zone was within the SSE Hydro arena, a much larger venue space that can fit thousands of people and this is where the general public can get involved with the conference. There was workshops, art exhibitions, musical performances, technology demonstrations and more.

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