Global leaders in spotlight as UNCOP26 opens

By Dominic Ellis
Decisions taken by the world's most influential leaders in the next two weeks will impact countries, corporations and consumers globally

The much-publicised UN COP26 conference gets underway today in Glasgow and decisions taken by the world's most influential leaders in the next two weeks will impact everyone from the mightiest corporation to the humblest remote observer as the window for reducing global carbon emissions continues to narrow.

Pressure is rising to deliver deals in what is seen as a final, once-in-a-generation opportunity to mitigate climate change and commit to resolutions that will meet net zero targets.

The Climate Registry (TCR) and the Climate Action Reserve (Reserve) are hosting the largest bipartisan delegation of US states ever at the conference. States with governors or other officials attending include California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

Running alongside the negotiations, the Presidency events will accelerate urgent action to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5°C within reach; help communities and natural habitats to adapt to the impacts of climate change; demonstrate that public and private finance is being mobilised for the climate; and bring countries, businesses, civil society, and citizens together to deliver on the Paris Agreement. Click here to see the timetable.

Four key goals have been set out at COP26:

Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

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. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

Staple crops in eight African countries could decrease by as much as 80 percent by 2050 in some areas if temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, according to a report released by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

This could have a catastrophic impact on poverty and food availability unless there is an urgent injection of funding to help vulnerable farmers adapt how and what they farm.

Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. At COP26 we must:

  • finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

Those who register via the Online Registration System (ORS) can also access the COP26 Platform. UK Pavilion events will be live streamed on the UK Government YouTube site.

Legislate for Webex is a platform specifically designed to facilitate secure hybrid discussions for policymakers. Cisco's partners, ITGL and Davra, have developed a customised version of Legislate for Webex for the specific needs of the conference.

Spontaneous ad-hoc discussions can be facilitated with secured break-out Webex sessions. Live interpretation and closed captioning is also available through Legislate for Webex, supporting multilingual participation. Webex's state-of-the-art security combined with Legislate for Webex's customizable nature makes it the ideal platform to host the talks.

To help provide a seamless connectivity experience for up to 25,000 in-person attendees over two weeks, Cisco will be providing modern, secure networking technologies, embedded with powerful visibility and network intelligence from Cisco ThousandEyes.

Star Refrigeration has launched a dedicated heating and cooling online hub to help businesses respond to guidelines. This includes a calendar of key COP26 events, a range of articles from sustainable engineering experts and bespoke advice on energy consumption and low carbon strategies as part of the Specific Energy Consumption app (click here).

Companies from the steel, aviation and shipping industries are mobilising multi-trillion dollar plans that provide a path for their respective sectors to reach net zero by 2050 and to make significant emissions reductions within the next decade as part of the Mission Possible Partnership.

The Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), an organisation dedicated to decarbonising seven of the hardest to abate industries, is releasing plans and the estimated costs of slashing carbon emissions for three sectors – steel, shipping and aviation – often ignored in national plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions that form the basis of negotiations at COP.


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