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COP26, the IPCC report and a call for global action

25 August 2021

With COP26 on the horizon, world leaders will soon join together to tackle the most pressing environmental issues. This comes on the heels of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issuing a stark warning that global warming is on a dangerous trajectory.

This double whammy has pushed climate change to the top of the agenda for governments across the world. And given the growing support from the general public, it is a topic that can no longer be side-lined.

The summit, due to be held in Glasgow in November, has the following four goals:

  1. Mitigation

Currently, the world is set to exceed its global warming limit of 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. This target was set out in the Paris Agreement in 2015. Emissions need to be halved globally over the next decade and net zero carbon emissions should be achieved by the middle of the century, to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

  1. Adaptation

Infrastructure and systems should be put in place to support those most vulnerable to climate change. Early warning systems and flood defences should be improved to protect life, livelihoods and habitats. Countries should also demonstrate how they will adapt to the impacts of climate change.

  1. Green Finance

The anticipated changes following COP26 will require both public and private finance. Public finance is needed to develop infrastructure, whilst private finance will fund technology and innovation. Developing countries in particular need financial assistance, and developed countries have promised to raise at least $100 billion each year in climate finance to support them.  

  1. Collaboration

The summit aims to reach a consensus to achieve the COP26 goals and to finalise the Paris Rulebook, (rules that implement the Paris Agreement). This involves finding a solution on carbon markets, resolving transparency issues and keeping the 1.5°C goal alive.  

The aim is for governments, business and civil society to work together to accelerate the transition from coal to clean energy, protect and restore nature, and to accelerate the transition to zero emissions.

Time is running out

The IPCC report confirms that the rise in extreme weather events is linked to global warming, largely due to human activity. If temperatures continue to rise at the current rate, they are predicted to reach the 1.5°C warming limit by 2040. This means that time is running out for the planet and immediate action is vital for the future of humanity.

Reforestation and conservation

As this year’s host, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised new domestic pledges and plans to garner international commitments on “coal, cars, cash and trees”.

He said: “We want COP26, the UN great summit, to commit to restoring nature and habitat and ending the massacre of the forests, because trees are among our best natural defences against climate change. To be net-zero for carbon you must be net-positive for trees and by 2030 we want to be planting far more trees across the world than we are losing.”

The UK has faced criticism in the past for having the lowest levels of tree cover, compared to its European neighbours. Forests currently cover just 13% of the country. To reach its net zero target, the Committee on Climate Change has said that tree cover in the UK needs to rise to 17% by 2050.

How does this impact your organisation?

COP26 will provide early insight into likely regulations and policy shifts in the future. This can help both public and private organisations stay on top of emissions targets. The summit is also likely to propel momentum for green finance. This will mean that sustainable strategies will become key for securing funding. One thing COP26 will make absolutely clear is that net zero is now imperative across the economy, from large corporates to small communities. Every business, group and individual has a part to play.

Where does Smith Bellerby come in?

Climate change is now high on the global agenda, and it is more important than ever for businesses to be carbon compliant. At Smith Bellerby we can assist you on your path to net zero, with sustainable solutions tailored to your needs.

Download our Pathway to Net Zero Guide to find out more.

Our carbon reporting service means that you can stay on top of your emissions and our procurement team can assist you in finding green energy at the best rates.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate the changing environmental landscape.

Leila Zerai
Leila Zerai
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