The climate crisis clock is ticking, but we can still avert catastrophe if we act now, and act together. COP26 is the next major milestone in the global mission to tackle the many challenges we face, and the event will focus on four main goals.
Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
The onus is on countries to proactively submit ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets, which in turn align with the target of reaching net zero by 2050. Some sub-targets within this goal include phasing out coal as quickly as possible, curtailing deforestation, accelerating the widespread switch to electric vehicles and encouraging/facilitating the much needed investment in renewables.
Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
As the latest IPCC report highlighted, we are responsible for the rapid and often disastrous climate changes we have seen over recent years – but we can also be part of the solution. At COP26, both governments and businesses will be encouraged to take meaningful steps to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, create warning systems and invest in resilient infrastructure/agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.
To deliver on the first two COP26 goals above, it’s critical that developed countries must honour their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. 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.
Work together to deliver
Only through full and ongoing climate collaboration can we hope to meet the challenges of the current, worsening crisis. Accelerating action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society lies at the heart of this, and will be key to local as well as global progress. For organisations, COP26 will provide a catalyst for action, but it’s vital that the conversations continue around sustainability, carbon management beyond November.