What is COP26?

COP is the annual UN climate change conference where leaders from all over the world decide on how to tackle the climate crisis. 2021 marks the 26th year of the conference of the parties, with world leaders coming together in Glasgow (UK) from 31 October to 12 November.

Why is COP26 so important?

This is the first opportunity since 2019 for nations to come together to review commitments and strengthen ambition for climate action. But this year’s COP is even more important because all countries will reflect on how well they have achieved the aims set under the Paris Agreement in 2015, and they will submit their long-term goals. However, as the commitments laid out in Paris did not produce their effect limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, taking action now will be more crucial than ever.

What will have to be achieved at COP26?

  • Secure global net zero by midcentury and keep 1.5 degree within reach: Countries must come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs), by accelerating the phaseout of coal, encouraging investment in renewables, curtailing deforestation and speeding up the switch to e-vehicles.
  • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats: Enabling and encouraging countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
  • Mobilise finance: Developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. Work is also needed to unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
  • Work together to deliver: Finalise the implementation of the Paris Agreement, by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on climate goals faster.

Why climate action matters?

Climate change is real and it’s happening now. If not tackled on time it will have severe consequences for everyone, everywhere:

  • At 2 degrees of global warming, a third of the world’s population would be regularly exposed to severe heat, leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths. Almost all warm water coral reefs would be destroyed, and the Arctic Sea ice would melt entirely at least one summer per decade, with devastating impacts on the wildlife and communities they support.

  • At 1.5°C, the impacts would be serious, but less severe. There would be lower risks of food and water shortages, lower risks to economic growth and fewer species at risk of extinction. Threats to human health from air pollution, disease, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat would also be lower. That is why every fraction of a degree of warming matters, and why we are dedicated to keeping the prospect of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive.

What does it all mean for business?

  • Innovation: Innovative companies will be supported to develop new technologies as well as new business models & new materials.

  • Resilience: Cities, supply chains, food system and infrastructure able to adapt to climate change will be crucial

  • Consumer’s trust: Customers’ behaviours are changing and so their trust in business. Greenwashing will no longer be an option. Solid and data-based business will be required.

  • Sustainable finance: Sustainability will become one of the key factors leading investor’s choices.

Who to follow?

To get the best value out of the noise, check our Twitter List and follow the voices of key figures from the COP presidency, the most industrialised countries as well as the civil society.