Every year, the United Nations holds a climate conference known as the ‘Conference of Parties’ or COP. It is organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is attended by representatives from 193 countries, including Ireland, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and climate activists.
This year, the annual climate conference, known as COP26, will be held in Glasgow from 31st October – 12 November.
We’ve teamed up with the RTÉ podcast Ecolution to bring you three episodes on COP26 from our volunteers Amy O’Brien, Orla Fitzpatrick and Peter O’Neill. You can listen to their episodes and find out more about COP26 below!
What happens at COP?
COP is a space where world leaders, policy makers, organisations and activists come together to discuss the challenges of climate change, and to set targets for tackling the crisis, which usually involves commitments from countries to reduce their carbon emissions.
The Paris Agreement
This has led to international climate agreements like the Paris Agreement, which set out a path for limiting our global temperature rise this century well below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels (before the Industrial Revolution when we started burning fossil fuels in factories), and for making significant efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.
What is happening at COP26?
The focus of COP26 will be on negotiating ways to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. Achieving net-zero emissions would mean the amount of greenhouse gas we put into the atmosphere is equal to the amount that is being removed from the atmosphere.
The goals for COP26 include:
- Setting 2030 targets for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
- Working to protect natural habitats and adapt to threats that face local communities because of climate change
- Securing the money needed from both the private and the public sector to achieve these climate goals
There will also be events, exhibitions, workshops and protests taking place around the summit in Glasgow over the two weeks of the COP26 Summit.