COP26 climate talks

COP26 climate talks

The United Nations climate talks (also known as the Conference of Parties or COP) that were scheduled to have taken place in Glasgow in 2020 have now been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They will now take place 1-12 November 2021. But in the meantime the climate emergency isn’t going away. As part of the COP26 coalition, we’re continuing with our plans to mobilise and to help ensure that the voices of those most affected by the climate emergency are heard at the summit. 

What is COP?

Since 1995, negotiators from 197 nations have gathered together annually in different countries to try to agree action and to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The COP in Glasgow will be the 26th of this kind. After more than two decades of COP negotiators trying, and failing, to achieve their objectives we now face a climate emergency and the need for action couldn’t be more urgent.

COP26 coalitionWhat’s happening at COP26?

Five years on from the 2015 Paris Agreement, 2020 is the year in which governments are due to review their national contributions – and there’s an urgent need for countries match their emissions reduction targets to the need to keep global temperature rise to a minimum of 1.5C.

With climate breakdown wreaking havoc across the world, it’s more important than ever that the voices of those most affected are heard at the summit and that those most responsible for causing the climate emergency are held to account.

We’re part of a broad civil society coalition working together to make sure that happens. Coronavirus allowing, there will be a huge civil society gathering alongside the talks, with people coming from all over the world, including a people’s counter-summit and mass mobilisation, as well as many fringe events.

Our broken economic system, based on exploitation and the extraction of wealth from the global south, has caused the climate crisis and huge inequality. Big business has endlessly extracted resources while being one of the biggest drivers of climate change. Yet it’s largely people in the global south who are facing the catastrophic effects. In both the north and the south, it is the poorest, with less resources to fall back on, who are the most affected.

Why we need to mobilise for COP26

In an economy which puts corporate profit above the interests of ordinary people, just 100 giant global companies are responsible for 71% of all carbon emissions. Since 1965, a mere 20 fossil fuel corporations contribute more than 1/3 of global emissions. Not only have they failed to make the shift towards a zero carbon economy, they’ve spent a lot of time and money persuading governments not to legislate for this either. They are also preventing governments from implementing laws and policies that will protect the environment by suing them in corporate courts to protect their profits.

Governments themselves are also undermining action on climate change by negotiating free trade and investment deals and that threaten environmental regulation and give fossil fuel companies more power than eve. And the UK government is using aid money to support fossil fuel projects in the global south. It’s vital that we expose this, and demand a just approach to decarbonisation – at the COP and beyond.

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