What to look out for at COP26

The world’s scientists, activists, indigenous peoples, children and now even a dinosaur are all telling us that this year is a “make or break” for our planet’s climate. And the COP26 climate change conference, which just kicked off in Glasgow, must be a turning point in our pattern of greenhouse gas emissions or we risk – very literally – breaking our climate.

If countries are to limit global temperature rise in line with the Paris Agreement to stave off the worst effects of climate change, they will need to ramp up ambition. According to the latest Emissions Gap Report by the UN Environment Programme, the current climate commitments by 192 countries of the world put us on a path towards a catastrophic 2.7°C of warming in less than 80 years.

With the global average temperature reaching about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, the climate crisis has well and truly arrived, and we are all experiencing its impact, no matter where we live. Further delaying climate action will make every single of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) harder to attain.

Action for our climate and for the SDGs must go hand in hand and cannot be pursued in isolation. Working to realize the synergies between the two can help scale up ambition, commitments and results, and deliver the Goals for people and the planet.

But with tens of thousands of participants, hundreds of speeches, side events, declarations and commitments, the COP26 climate conference can be confusing. How can we tell if national leaders are really delivering bold, large-scale and rapid actions or just talking?

UN DESA has produced an explainer video to help you weed out the empty promises from true climate action. In the run-up to COP 26 and during the conference, keep your eyes peeled for announcements of concrete climate action around three priority areas:

  • Swiftly closing the emissions gap to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius through rapid, bold emissions cuts and net-zero commitments.
  • Increasing international finance for adaptation to at least half the total spent on climate action.
  • Meeting the existing commitment to provide $100 billion in international climate finance each year so that developing countries can invest in green technologies, and protect lives and livelihoods against worsening climate impacts.

UN DESA will once again host the SDG Pavilion at the climate conference to provide interactive space for all interested stakeholders to share their experiences and knowledge and to help accelerate action on the interlinked, universally agreed global visions: the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. The full schedule of events and participation details will be made available on the SDG Pavilion website shortly.

Join us in climate action!