You might have heard a lot about COP-26 in the news recently, and the highly anticipated international conference on climate action gets underway at the end of the month (31 October). Here, we have a look at its significance and why it is vital to take immediate steps to combat climate crisis – including for people right here in Ealing.
What is COP-26?
COP-26 is short for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – the 26th of its kind. COPs have been held by the United Nations over the last three decades and with the UK currently serving as president, COP-26 is being held in Glasgow over twelve days from 31 October to 12 November.
With the need to urgently address the climate crisis, the conference has gone from a fringe event to a global priority and almost every country on earth will attend.
Why is COP-26 happening?
Globally, we need to halve the amount of harmful gases currently released into the atmosphere by the next decade.
Only by achieving this and reaching net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century can we limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. You can find out exactly what terms like ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ mean through our recent climate crisis explainer article here.
Scientists predict that this needs to occur to avoid widespread catastrophic events from taking place, from extreme temperatures, droughts and flooding to ecological breakdown and mass extinction.
The phasing out of coal burning in favour of renewable and green energy, such as wind and solar power, the rapid halting of deforestation and damaging agricultural practices and a move towards electric cars and active travel can all help achieve this aim.
What are the aims of COP-26?
Countries are hoping to overcome deadlock and reaching a consensus about how exactly we tackle this enormous global challenge.
Minimising rising temperatures and a worldwide target of net zero carbon emissions are of course key targets. However, COP-26 also aims to find ways of protecting communities and natural habitats and securing funding for these huge undertakings.
Fundamentally, it is about agreeing on how to transform the way we power our homes and businesses, grow our food, develop infrastructure, and move ourselves and goods around to avert the dangerous course we are currently on – a course which is already at crisis point.
‘More committed than ever to tackling the climate crisis’
COP-26 may be an international summit, but every single person has a role in combating climate crisis.
Luckily, small, simple steps made by local people can make a difference. The council is taking urgent action achieve net zero for the borough by 2030 and is supporting residents to make meaningful and positive changes. Local climate action hub, ActForEaling, has pulled together ten top tips to help us all contribute to a positive future.
Councillor Deirdre Costigan, Ealing Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action said: “We’ve agreed a new set of priorities for the council that puts tackling the climate emergency at the very top of our list. COP-26 starts next week and is a great opportunity to highlight the brilliant work we are doing locally to make a difference, from retrofititng council homes and expanding our cycle network to planting 30,000 trees and re-wilding our borough.
“We have agreed an ambitious target to get to net zero emissions by 2030 and we know that we all need to get involved to achieve this. But we also need support from government and I hope COP26 will see new powers and funding for councils like Ealing so that we can make a real difference locally.
“We are focusing on key areas – active travel, nature and biodiversity, food sourcing, energy in homes, and waste and recycling. I know residents across Ealing are keen to be part of the solution and look to see how they can make changes to their daily lives to ensure a greener future.”