Why COP26 is so important for the future of the planet
Whether it’s in newspapers or our social media feeds, COP26 seems to be on everyone’s lips just now. But, with decisions set to be taken there that will affect the way we eat, work, travel and heat our homes for decades to come, who is attending and why is it being hailed as one of the most critical global summits of our times?
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Glasgow from Oct 31 to Nov 12. This 26th annual Conference of the Parties (COP26) will see countries gather to discuss climate change.
With UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, stating that the world is facing a ‘climate catastrophe’, the scene for COP26 is truly set. 120 world leaders and thousands of high profile delegates from business and non-profit organisations will attend, giving hope that a new green agenda can be set that will avert the looming climate crisis.
When the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report declaring global warming a ‘code red for humanity’ the warning was stark. Following the publication of further hard-hitting reports in the countdown to COP26, the world’s gaze falls on Glasgow as global leaders gather for crucial talks.
To understand the significance, it is worth recalling COP21 (Paris, 2015). There, 196 nations agreed to: work together to limit global warming (to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels); adapt to the impacts of the changing climate; and invest financially to deliver these changes.
The Paris Agreement saw countries commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, delivering an updated reduction target every five years. With Paris pledges projected to fall short of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees – with current emissions levels expected to see temperatures rise by 2.7 degrees, causing devastation to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities – new targets are likely to be revealed by each country at COP26.
A key goal of COP26 is securing global net-zero emissions by 2050, which should substantially slow temperature rises. The next decade is considered decisive and countries are urged to unveil ambitious emissions reduction targets up to 2030 showing how they will phase out coal burning, invest in renewables, reduce deforestation, and transition to electric vehicle use. With climate change continuing even while emissions are reduced, the catastrophic effects must be planned for and mitigated against. COP26 will provide the framework for countries to work together so that the most affected can prepare.
Enacting the Agreement alone will not deliver net zero. Governments, businesses and society must collaborate to change how we work, travel, heat our homes and businesses, and eat. Sustainable aquaculture is viewed as having a key role to play. Blue foods, like sustainably farmed salmon, have a significantly lower carbon footprint than animal land proteins. Indeed, Mowi salmon is the most sustainable source of animal protein on the planet. A dietary shift towards eating healthier foods like this and fruit and vegetables is a win-win, it’s good for people and the planet.
Mowi is proud to be leading the Blue Revolution, which aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. With COP26 promising to set the green – and blue – agenda, our Chief Sustainability and Technical Officer, Catarina Martins, and her team will be in attendance in Glasgow, where Catarina will speak at the COP26 Ocean Action Day and UN Global Compact – Blue Food events.