Environmental challenges: What is the role of COP26 in facing them?
Climate change and environmental challenges are not new. Every year, we face much more severe and shocking ecological problems due to global warming. Still, the solutions are in our hands, and everyone must put them into practice.
Two fundamental factors are needed to face environmental challenges successfully: unity and commitment. Although it may sound like a cliché, there is nothing more accurate than “unity is strength.” And in the context of initiatives for a sustainable and respectful world with the environment, this sentence is even more true: international cooperation is the only way to mitigate the effects of climate change.
When we speak of international cooperation, we refer to agreements between different countries to implement actions to benefit the environment. Such collaboration will lead to a collective effort with a much more significant impact. In addition, it will encourage low-income nations so that they can also be part of the change.
A great example of international cooperation is the UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP26. This summit, held in Glasgow, Scotland, is the perfect space for leaders from around the world to set goals to mitigate the effects of climate change and other environmental challenges (Friedman, 2021)
COP26 Summit: where does it come from, and where is it going?
Let’s start by learning what the name of this conference means. COP is the acronym for Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. 26th means that in 2021, the 26th meeting will be held. This summit is developed from talks and discussions between environmental actors and the business sector.
In this framework, companies such as Iberdrola stand out. Iberdrola is one of the companies that has shown an outstanding commitment to the reduction of emissions. Its efforts have been aimed at consolidating renewable energy systems through technological development and innovations such as Power-to-x, smart grids, and electric transportation.
Among the objectives of COP26, we can find these: (UN Mexico, 2021):
– The severe limitation of the use of fossil fuels. This objective has to do with avoiding the planet’s temperature from exceeding 1,5 degrees Celsius.
– The reduction and complete mitigation of deforestation by the end of the decade. This objective has to do with forests being the best tool to combat carbon dioxide pollution.
– The reduction of methane emissions, which is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
– The improvement of financing for policies on environmental challenges at the international level.
But what commitments come with COP26 regarding environmental challenges?
So far, this conference has left relevant commitments such as:
– 25 countries and public institutions will end international aid to projects related to fossil fuels by the end of 2022.
– 190 nations have agreed to phase out coal-fired power generation.
– There has been strong public support and commitment to the implementation of renewable energy.
– Active promotion of circular energy: harmony between the protection of the environment and the generation of employment.
– The strengthening of the commitment of the wealthiest countries with a contribution of 100 billion dollars annually.
The true impact of this summit depends on fulfilling the commitments, but what if this does not happen?
The first consequence of non-compliance with the COP26 commitments is the imminent increase in the planet’s temperature, which may even exceed 3 Celsius degrees in the near future.
The environmental challenges that come with this increase in temperature will be reflected in the extreme loss of biodiversity and the degradation of environmental resources, which would lead, in turn, to a shortage of water.
Moreover, the climate crisis would increase the impact on vulnerable territories and communities. More and more places are becoming uninhabitable, and their inhabitants are forced to migrate to escape the risk of natural disasters or lack of resources. Although COP26 establishes limits and objectives, only through the decisive actions of every country and the total commitment to the planet will we avoid reaching a point of no return. Change is everyone’s responsibility, and together, we can face today’s environmental challenges.
BibliographyACNUR. (2019) El cambio climático y los desastres provocan cada vez más desplazamientos.
Friedman, L. (2021) ¿Qué es la COP26? Y otras preguntas sobre la gran cumbre climática de la ONU. The New York Times.
Montes, S. (2021) El carbón no va más: los compromisos de la COP26 para dejar atrás los combustibles fósiles. Forbes Colombia.
ONU México. (2021) COP26: El mundo está observando.