Four simple goals to achieve for COP26

In answer the the basic question – What do we need to achieve at COP26? – the United Nations (UN) has set out the four outcomes that need to be delivered for COP26 to be considered a success.

COP26 will see leaders and their representatives from all the world’s nations come together over 13 days in Glasgow – starting today 31 October – to try to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change.

At the heart of COP26 will be negotiations involving the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC.

See also ITT Hub News’ other COP26 stories:

The goals the UN has set out are:

1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.

2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

3. Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. 

International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

4. Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.

At COP26 we must:

  • finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

To learn more, read the COP26 Explained document below (download available)

As the conference’s host, led by COP26 President Alok Sharma MP, the UK aims to bring countries together to agree a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced outcome that takes forward coordinated climate action and resolves key issues related to the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

Paris set the destination – limiting warming well below 2 degrees, aiming for 1.5 degrees –  Glasgow must make it a reality.

Says the UK government:

Aims of the Negotiations

We want the outcome to accelerate action to:

  • Reduce emissions
  • Strengthen adaptation and resilience to climate impacts
  • Scale up finance and support

In doing so it should:

Negotiation issues

At COP26 delegates will be aiming to finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’, the rules needed to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, and conclude outstanding issues from COP25 in Madrid. They will also seek to deliver on all essential negotiating items for 2020 and 2021.

From our extensive engagement with countries, the most commonly raised priorities include:

  • Enabling ambition through carbon markets
  • Rules for the transparent reporting of action and support 
  • Common timeframes for emission reduction commitments 
  • Enabling enhanced adaptation action 
  • Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage 
  • Means of implementation, including the initiation of deliberations on a new goal for global climate finance after 2025 
  • Responding to the latest science and the ambition of current emission reduction targets 
  • Promoting fair, inclusive climate action

There are many other issues for discussion at COP26, including several important sector specific topics not listed above.

Our approach

Although COVID-19 has posed challenges for the multilateral climate change process, we are committed to making progress in a transparent and inclusive way and in solidarity with all countries. 

We have set out how we will do this on the Road to Glasgow, including detailed plans in collaboration with Chile (the current COP President) and Italy (our Partner for COP26 and the host of pre-COP), as well as the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Chairs of the two UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies. 

COP President Designate Alok Sharma wrote an open letter to Parties setting out what the Presidency has heard from Parties and groups on their expectations for Glasgow and the importance of making progress.

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