2-week UN climate summit starts in Glasgow as ‘last best hope’

COP26 main goal is to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by taking swift, concrete action as well as financing those steps.

2-week UN climate summit starts in Glasgow as ‘last best hope’

The UN Climate Change Conference, also knowns as COP26, began in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday with new pledges expected to be announced in the fight against climate change.

The main goal at the summit, which has convened nearly 25,000 delegates from 200 countries, will be to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by taking swift and concrete action as well as financing those steps.

The summit will be the first to assess the progress in the fight against the climate crisis, which is now widely seen as the world's greatest challenge, since the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which intends to reduce carbon emissions.

The first goal of the summit, which will conclude on Nov. 12, is to secure global net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century and to keep 1.5C within reach.

The countries are being asked “to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.”

Another goal of the summit is to “work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems and build defenses, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.”

Mobilizing finance and working together to deliver the targets are the two other goals at COP26.

The COP26 expects broader steps from countries that contribute the most of emissions across the globe, including the US, China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Iran, and Canada.

The current policies in the world can only achieve a 20% reduction in global emissions by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

Meanwhile, data from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) suggests that there is a risk that global temperatures will rise by 2.7C (4.9F) by the end of the century under current policies.

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to “well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”

“To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.”

Last best hope

“The world must act now to keep 1.5 alive,” said COP26 President Alok Sharma in his opening remarks.

“Six years ago, in Paris, we agreed (on) our shared goals. COP26 is our last best hope to keep 1.5 in reach,” he added.

Sharma said: “I believe we can move negotiations forward and launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition and action... but we need to hit the ground running.

“If we act now and we act together, we can protect our precious promise and ensure where Paris promised, Glasgow delivers.”