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  • Samin Sabah Islam

A look back at COP26

Over the past few decades, climate change has evolved from a fringe issue to the biggest threat facing humanity. To combat a terror of such extent requires a global cooperation of equal grit and dedication - thus was born the Conference of Parties, otherwise knows as COP.

COP is the is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. World leaders and representatives from the 197 signatories meet every year to negotiate policies that will mitigate the climate crisis, and discuss the achievements so far.

The 27th edition of the conference, COP27, is scheduled to begin on 7 November in Egypt. The time is ripe to look back on the goals set in the previous conference and progress made so far.

The previous conference was held in 2021 in Glasgow. After 13 days of intense negotiations, COP26 concluded with the participating countries agreeing on the Glasgow Climate Pact. Under the UK Presidency, this global agreement was pledged to accelerate action on climate this decade, and finally complete the Paris Rulebook.

The Glasgow Climate Pact was designed to drive action across the globe on 4 points:

Mitigation: Reducing emissions

A near-global net zero agreement was secured where 153 countries pledged to new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as emission targets. The Paris Rulebook, which provides the necessary practical guidance for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, was completed, marking a milestone in year-long negotiations. In order to keep emissions low and abide by the Paris Rulebook, the Presidency has pushed for pledges to move away from coal power, halt and reverse deforestation, reduce methane emissions and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.

Adaptation: Helping those already impacted by climate change

The Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme (GlaSS) on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) was established, whose purpose is to drive adaptation action. 80 countries are now covered by either Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans to increase preparedness to climate risks. A record amount of adaptation finance has been pledged including the commitment to double 2019 levels of adaption finance by 2025. Adaptation Fund is a financial instrument under the UNFCCC has been established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country to reduce the adverse effects of climate change facing communities, countries, and sectors.

Finance: Enabling countries to deliver on their climate goals

Countries agreed the way forward for the new post-2025 climate finance goal. Developed countries committed significantly increased funding to vital funds such as the Least Developed Countries Fund. 34 countries and five public finance institutions pledged to stop international support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector next year.

Collaboration: Working together to deliver even greater action

The Paris Rulebook was finalised which includes the agreement towards enhanced transparency framework and common time frames for emissions reduction targets. This will accelerate collaboration between governments, businesses, and society to deliver on climate goals faster. Collaborative councils and dialogues in energy, electric vehicles, shipping, and commodities will help deliver on commitments.

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