The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which coordinates the global response to the threat of climate change, hosts the biggest climate summit in the world – also known as the conference of the parties, or COP! Over the years, the UNFCCC COP meetings have held global negotiations on reducing emissions, climate finance, and working towards a pathway to limit global heating to 1.5°C.
Green leaders from across Europe will be attending the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow from 1 to 13 November. This COP is the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic that the world will be addressing the issue of climate breakdown at the global scale.
This year, there is more pressure than ever to raise climate ambition. As it stands, we are headed for a world of well over 2°C of global warming. Unless we raise ambition now, we will have a slim chance of meeting the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C as agreed in the Paris Agreement from COP21 in 2015.
We do not need to convince you of the importance of meeting that goal. These last few years, we have observed the devastating consequences of a warming planet, such as heatwaves, desertification, and record flash floods and wildfires.
As the Greens, we are working towards creating socially just societies within our ecological boundaries. Join us at the Green Hub where we will be hosting events with Green leaders and on Green issues. We will discuss topics such as reshaping our global economies, food sovereignty, recognising ecocide, racial justice, making the polluters pay and challenging airport expansion!
We have no more time to waste!
Here are some of the most vital issues that we as Greens would like to see addressed at the climate summit.
Raising climate ambition
It is crucial that political leaders recognise the huge gap between what we need to do to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid global warming beyond 1.5°C, and where our current pathways are currently leading us. Current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are far too low in relation to the Paris Agreement and IPCC report findings: they would lead to an estimated 2.7°C of warming by 2100. And if we fail to decrease emissions now, our carbon budget will be used up within the next 8 years. Offsetting must also be regarded with caution, as polluting industries are trying to green their image using offsetting without taking real climate action.
Pär Holmgren, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the resolution on the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and Greens/EFA member of the European Parliament delegation to the COP26, emphasises that COP26 must keep the 1.5 pathway within reach by raising climate ambition. He states: "It is vital that all countries and sectors urgently raise their ambitions. We must ensure that the biggest emitters take their huge share of the responsibility." Bas Eickhout, MEP and Greens/EFA member of the European Parliament delegation to the COP26, also emphasises that "COP26 needs to be about immediate action."
Phasing out fossil fuels
Although net-zero emission targets have been set, and climate ambitions have been increased under the Paris Agreement, countries have yet to address their dependence on fossil fuels. Instead of winding down gas and oil production, production is still expanding. Current government plans to extract fossil fuels would drill or mine more than double the threshold needed to reach 1.5°C. According to the UNEP production gap report, governments are on track to "produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and 45% more than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2°C." For example, despite Boris Johnson calling for more climate ambition, the UK is set to open the new massive Cambo oil field. Leaks have shown that not only have fossil fuel companies lobbied the UN to change findings in the IPCC report, but there is also a revolving door between them and government.
Bas Eickhout calls on the European Commission and EU member states to show leadership by declaring an end to fossil fuel financing, and translate it into binding legislation. He comments that "Glasgow needs to be the moment that marks the end to fossil fuel investments, both public and private."
Climate justice and social justice
As revealed by the climate finance delivery plan, wealthy nations have fallen short every year on delivering $100bn per year by 2020 to vulnerably nations to help them cope with climate change. Many actors from the Global South have also been unable to attend due to the unequal distribution of vaccines. Climate breakdown is a global issue and tackling it will mean a need for increased solidarity to ensure that frontline and marginalised communities do not disproportionately suffer at the hands of the biggest polluters.
Our vision of a Green Recovery ensures that the green transition is just and sustainable and invests in making our societies more resilient. Climate justice is critical to ensure that we create a truly fair future, where vulnerable communities are protected, and where the transition to a Green future means everyone benefits. Oras Tynkkynen, Tampere City Councilor and Committee Member of the European Greens, states that "Wealthy countries must ramp up vital international climate finance in the spirit of climate justice." He also emphasises that "The world also needs a clear plan to phase out fossil fuels and to phase in clean energy, with a just transition for workers and communities."
Let's act now for a resilient and climate-neutral future!
It is clearer than ever that real change is necessary for a safe and fair future. No matter what we do – whether we act now to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, or delay action – change is inevitable. It is vital, then, to push for the kind of change that we want to see. The change that can lead us towards a just and sustainable transition in Europe and abroad.
As Greens, we know that every fraction of a degree matters in terms of its impacts on the planet. Every win, however big or small, counts and will have huge consequences for the global south and most vulnerable communities. Join us in our fight for a better and greener future.