We are thrilled that The Climate Center has been recognized as an official Observer NGO to the United Nations global climate meetings. This year’s conference, called COP26, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1-12, 2021. I’ll be there to learn from other climate champions and share our vision for a Climate-Safe California on the global stage.
What is COP26?
Each year, the United Nations gathers for a “conference of the parties” (COP), which is all the countries of the world that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In other words, this is a summit where world leaders and heads of state gather to agree on goals and announce their commitments to address the climate crisis.
It’s also a gathering for more than 2,300 non-governmental organization (NGO) Observers, including representatives from environmental and climate policy groups, farming and agriculture, Indigenous populations, local and state governments (including California), universities, labor interests, and more. The COPs provide a unique opportunity to exchange ideas with other climate policymakers, experts, and activists from around the world.
Imagine the biggest convention or trade show you’ve ever attended — then think even bigger! As many as 30,000 people are expected to attend COP26 this year. The conference features an official “Blue Zone” where negotiations and accredited side events occur, a “Green Zone” open to the public, and a multitude of side events focused on climate action.
The landmark Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015 at COP21. It was then ratified by 192 countries, including the United States, to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving this goal will require significant cuts to climate pollution, drawing down as much as 1 trillion tons of past climate pollution, and a rapid global shift away from oil, gas, and coal to renewable energy.
Why is this year’s convening so important?
The COPs have been held every year since 1995, except last year due to COVID-19. This year, the stakes are higher than ever. In Paris in 2015, world leaders pledged to come together five years later to assess their progress toward reducing climate pollution and promised to make new commitments to ensure the world limits global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius while increasing resilience to climate impacts.
That important “progress report” was delayed a year due to the pandemic and will be taking place this November in Glasgow. Scientists warn that, right now, global commitments to reduce climate pollution don’t add up to anywhere near what it will take to avert the worst possible impacts of the climate crisis. In fact, we’re on track for anywhere between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius warming, which would fuel even more catastrophic and deadly heatwaves, wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters across the globe.
That’s why it’s so important to have organizations like The Climate Center participating at COP26. Our role is to advocate for climate action at the speed and scale science demands and push back against false solutions that let fossil fuel corporations off the hook. When President Biden and Governor Newsom arrive in Glasgow, we’ll be there to remind them that they answer to the people — not polluters.
I’m honored to be representing our team at COP26, and I’m excited to be part of an exceptional delegation of elected leaders and partners from California who we’re sponsoring. To receive the latest updates live from Glasgow, you can subscribe to The Climate Center’s newsletter and follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Thank you for your support and partnership that makes our urgent work possible. More to come from Glasgow!