The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, began on Monday (local time) as a place for the leaders of 197 countries, including U.S. President Joe Biden, to discuss detailed methodologies to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrialization levels.
The key is the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be announced by each country. At COP 21 held in Paris in 2015, countries agreed on the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrialization levels until the end of this century. To do so, they agreed on achieving net-zero by 2050. As a result, every country needs to present its NDC every five years and the first of such an occasion is being held in Glasgow this year. This is why the Glasgow conference is expected to change the future of humanity.
National leaders are required to present at the conference their respective countries’ carbon footprint reduction goals by 2030 to achieve net-zero by 2050. However, India, the No. 3 carbon emitter, has not put forward its NDC yet. The South Asian country is arguing that rich countries should be held responsible, saying that climate change and carbon emissions have been caused by advanced Western countries. The world’s largest carbon emitter, China, submitted its NDC on Thursday, with a delayed target to achieve net-zero by 2060. Rich oil countries, such as Saudi Arabia, either set their target by 2060 or later or are yet to submit NDCs. Some developing countries in Africa are requesting aid, saying that they are struggling with climate change due to advanced countries. All led to concerns that a proper agreement won’t be achieved at COP26.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the State of the Global Climate 2021 report to warn about the new normal of the globe, in which extreme weather conditions, such as heatwave and flood, have become prevalent. Global temperature has kept breaking its previous highest level for seven years since 2015, propelling the “planet into uncharted territory,” the report says. “"Extreme events are the new norm," Secretary-General of the WMO Petteri Taalas said. “There is mounting scientific evidence that some of these bear the footprint of human-induced climate change.”
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