By Rowena Pullan @ CH4 Global
October 27, 2021
COP26 is upon us. And it couldn’t be here soon enough!
Next week leaders from every corner of the world will assemble in Glasgow for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26). There they’ll report on the progress their respective countries have made against their goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C, the target set in the Paris Agreement five years ago at COP21.
They’ll also delve deeply into the four goals of this year’s conference: Reach net zero emissions by 2030; adapt to protect communities and natural habitats; mobilise finance; and work together.
Those goals are admirable. But the UN has been bringing world leaders together for these climate change summits for nearly 30 years. There is no question they have made significant progress over those decades. Simply putting and keeping a bright light on climate change has been a major accomplishment by itself. But the years of discussions and goal setting and reporting are over. Saying it’s time for urgent action is an understatement!
The harsh reality of climate change today was summed up best by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres when commenting this past summer on a new report prepared by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He said the report “is a code red for humanity.”
Report after report, from some of the most respected health, environmental, and economic authorities on the planet, echo General Guterres’ sentiment.
The World Health Organization released a special report last week that calls climate change ‘the single biggest health threat facing humanity.’
And, on October 20, the highly respected medical journal The Lancet published its annual Lancet Countdown report on health and climate change, titling it Code Red for a Healthy Future. The report is an international collaboration of leading researchers from 43 academic institutions and UN agencies who independently monitor the health consequences of climate change.
So, the pressure is on at COP26. Seriously urgent action is required.
Here’s why. According to The Lancet report, to meet the Paris Agreement goals and prevent catastrophic levels of global warming, global greenhouse gas emissions must reduce by half within a decade. However, at the current pace of reduction, it would take more than 150 years for the energy system to fully decarbonize.
There are a number of near-term steps that should be taken. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN’s Environment Program, has said that “cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years.”
At CH4 Global, we fully concur with Mr. Anderson and are working to deliver our part. The question is whether those attending COP26 will, too.