Leaders and representatives from across the world have gathered in Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate change summit.
The event, which kicked off on Sunday 31 October, aims to make progress in achieving net zero carbon emissions and to keep global warming below 1.5C - a temperature beyond which the most dangerous climate impacts will be felt.
This year marks the 26th time the annual summit has been held to agree on steps that need to be taken to tackle climate change, but the Prime Minister has admitted it is “touch and go” whether the event will be a success.
What is COP26?
The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, shortened to COP26, brings together nations from across the globe to assess the progress made towards tackling climate change.
The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995, and was dubbed COP1. As this year is the 26th installment, it is referred to as COP26.
The summit is being held at the SEC complex in Glasgow and is the most important round of UN talks since the global Paris Agreement to address climate change was secured in two weeks of negotiations in the French capital in 2015.
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma has warned that world leaders must deliver on their promises to curb dangerous climate change at the UN COP26 talks and is calling for the Paris Agreement to be honoured, which committed countries to try to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C.
Current action and pledges leave the world well off track to meeting the target and avoiding the most dangerous heat waves, floods, damage to natural systems, rising sea levels and diseases that higher temperatures will bring.
At 1.5C of warming, 700 million people would be at risk of extreme heatwaves, while at 2C of warming it would be two billion. Additionally, a temperature rise to 1.5C would destroy 70% of the world’s coral reefs, whereas they would all die at 2C.
Around 120 heads of state and government are attending the world leaders’ summit to agree on action to cut carbon emissions driving rising temperatures.
Scientists have said global emissions need to roughly halve in the next decade and hit “net zero” by 2050.
The UK states its four key goals for COP26 are to:
- secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5C within reach
- adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- mobilise finance
- work together to deliver
How long is the climate change summit?
The climate change summit will take place over 13 days and officially got underway on Sunday 31 October.
Prince Charles gave the opening address after the Queen pulled out following advice to rest, while Boris Johnson hosted the opening ceremony on 1 November.
Thursday 4 November saw COP26 President Alock Sharma fight to “make coal history” on Energy Day, while 5 November marked youth and public empowerment day, which included protests from Greta Thunberg.
This coming Wednesday (10 November) will focus on transport and cutting carbon emissions from cars, including new national bans on petrol and diesel car sales.
Negotiations will continue until Friday 12 November when the summit comes to an end.
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