This month, thousands of scientists, climate change activists, and world leaders descend upon Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26). It is one of the largest in-person global conferences since the outbreak of COVID-19.
But where do we, the laymen, fit in this environmental negotiation puzzle? Yes, we have a responsibility to arm ourselves with information that will allow us to make better decisions. But how do we do that when much of the research available to us is filled with technical terms and data that make it difficult to interpret.
In this article, we will point at certain topics to follow over the course of COP26.
1.5 Degrees Celsius benchmark
In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report, Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius, that details what the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius could mean.
These impacts include:
- More than 400 million people experiencing frequent, extreme heatwaves.
- A doubling of deaths due to high temperatures.
- Poorer regions i.e. the Sahel, Amazonia, southern Africa, central Europe, and the Mediterranean, having have a high risk of food insecurity.
- 18% of insect species, 16% of plants, and 8% of vertebrates would lose 50% of their habitats, resulting in problems for food production, pollination, water quality, and more.
- Tropical rainforests, including the Amazon, having a higher risk of degrading into warm, dry savannahs.
- An increase in ocean acidification and oxygen depletion would result in a massive loss of marine life, and the bleaching of most corals around the globe.
What will happen at COP26?
COP26 is where promises become plans. Technically, it is the deadline for the Paris Agreement. By the end of the COP26 climate summit, global stakeholders should have tangible, trackable strategies from today until 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality. The summit’s main goal is to pressure the world to dial down the global warming rate to below the 1.5 degrees Celsius benchmark.
We should be able to know about the latest declarations from countries such as India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia whose nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are still unclear.
Countries still relying on coal projects such as China, the US, the EU, and Japan should send out a clear message that they are abandoning coal and moving towards alternative renewable energy sources.
Developed countries should solidify their relationships with developing countries, to strengthen relationships based on the collective pursuit of achieving climate goals.
World leaders need to be more ambitious about their carbon neutrality planning and consider the climate crisis as a real-world, urgent emergency.
If COP26 fails
The failure of COP26 will come in the form of a breakdown in unity. Presently, most efforts are off the targets set out during the Paris Agreement. Many countries are contributing to global warming of about 3 degrees Celsius by 2100. And this means catastrophic environmental, social, and health effects.
These scenarios include:
- Droughts lasting as long as ten months over extensive portions of the world’s arable land.
- A doubling in size of the areas already affected by extreme wildfires.
- Longer heat waves and temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius become a norm for most of the northern hemisphere.
If global warming remains unchecked and it dials up to 3.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, we could experience:
- The Arctic could experience an ice-free summer season annually.
- Marine heatwaves could destroy fish and crustacean populations leading to massive implications for the food chains that rely on them.
Climbing to a 4-degree Celsius increase within the same time frame would result in:
- A global excess mortality due to high temperatures rising six times faster than the current rate.
- ⅔rds of the world’s flora and fauna failing to identify the seasonal indicators necessary for their biological life cycles.
- Many regions of the world including forests and wetlands becoming entirely unrecognizable.
- Coastal regions becoming uninhabitable due to sea levels rising by over one meter.
Simply put, COP26 can have a major impact on the trajectory of humanity’s fate. We will finally see if world leaders will further their country’s commitments on their declarations during the Paris Agreement.
But climate change isn’t just the responsibility of politicians and governments. We all have a part to play. We can all take small actions to help reach carbon neutrality.
The experts here at Carbon Credit Capital can help you reduce your carbon footprint today!
Get in touch with us today to learn more.