World Climate Summit: What is COP26 – and why is it important?

The Most Important Facts About the World Climate Summit in Glasgow

At the World Climate Summit, the international community wants to discuss how specifically it wants to go the 1.5-degree path (symbol image)

© Jochen Tack/ / Picture Alliance

On 31 October, representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet for the annual World Climate Conference – this time in Glasgow, Scotland. But what exactly is a meeting and why is it so important? An overview.

The meeting, in Glasgow, Scotland, is huge, with around 25,000 participants, about 200 countries. The World Climate Conference, which begins on October 31, also has tasks: it is nothing less than a question of the existence of millions of people on this planet.

What is the World Climate Conference – or COP26?

The World Climate Conference takes place annually, always in a different country. At the invitation of the United Nations, about 200 countries usually debate for two weeks at the beginning of winter about how mankind can stop global warming to tolerable levels. COP stands for “Convention of the Parties”, which means the states that have signed the so-called Framework Convention on Climate Change. This year they meet for the 26th time in Glasgow – hence COP26. About 25,000 people are expected to arrive – not only government representatives, but also thousands of journalists and climate protection activists.

Why is there a World Climate Conference?

The first World Climate Conference took place in the late 1970s and 1980s. The first “COP” under the umbrella of the Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Berlin in 1995. German negotiator Angela Merkel at the time was Minister of the Environment under Chancellor Helmut Kohl (both CDUs). More than 25 years ago, the summit set itself a binding goal of determining when and how much global emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases should be reduced. Science previously warned: Too many greenhouse gases in the air, especially carbon dioxide and methane, ensure that the Earth continues to warm and in some cases can be uninhabitable for people.

What role do oceans and seas play in the climate crisis?

What is this climate conference about – and why is it important?

What is important is what happened – or what didn’t – in the last few weeks before the conference started. Because many states have not done their homework. Many governments have not sufficiently tightened their national plans for climate protection, mainly delaying the phase-out of coal, oil and gas, and neglecting climate-friendly restructuring of transport and agriculture. Therefore, in the opinion of all experts, the general goal set in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times is still a long way off.

In September, the UN’s responsible climate agency sounded the alarm: Even if all current climate plans are put in place, the world is headed for a warming of 2.7 degrees – and even 16 percent of harmful emissions. more than. The fatalities would be significantly greater droughts, hurricanes, floods and wildfires, as we have just seen in many regions of the world and in Germany. Crores of people will also drown in poverty and many will be forced to migrate. To achieve the 1.5 degree target, global emissions would actually have to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030. Much more ambitious commitments are due at the latest during the conference.

When will COP26 be successful?

At the end there is a final declaration of sorts. It has to be explained in an understandable way as to how the international community specifically wants to go the 1.5-degree path. Another issue is money, especially financial aid for climate protection in poor countries. Rich countries and development banks provided about US$79.6 billion (67.6 billion euros) for it in 2019, according to an analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. But this falls short of the set target of raising $100 billion per year by 2020. If this promise is fulfilled in Glasgow, it will be a step forward.

Yaks / Torsten Holtz

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