The 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change — better known as COP26 — kicks off in Glasgow, Scotland on the 31st of October and is scheduled to last until November 12.
COP 26 is a major moment in international climate diplomacy and the most significant climate change meeting since the Paris Agreement was reached in 2015.
Under the terms of the Paris Agreement countries were to reconvene every five years. And these meetings were to be moments in which countries would scale up their ambitions and take further action to limit global warming to “well under 2 degrees celsius” compared to pre-industrial levels by 2030.
The backbone of the Paris Agreement are what are known as the Nationally Determined Contributions–the NDCs. These are each country’s domestic action plan on climate. As of now, these NDCs collectively do not put us on target to reach that Paris Agreement goal — hence the need for better targets and more action.
On the line with me to offer a preview of what to expect from this major UN climate meeting is Pete Odgen, Vice President for Energy, Climate, and the Environment at the United Nations Foundation. He is a veteran of many previous COPs and in our conversation he discusses the key issues up for negotiation in Glasgow and the broader geopolitics of climate change diplomacy. This includes a deep dive into how both China and the United States are approaching COP26 and thorny question of climate finance — that is, how wealthier countries can financially support as they adapt to the climate change they did not cause and grow their economies in carbon sensitive ways.
If you have 25 minutes and want to better understand the key issues on the table at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland have a listen.