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COP26 is around the corner!

Written by Lars Maebe

COP26...What’s in a name?

Does COP26 ring a bell? Probably not…

What about COP21, an event that happened 6 years ago? Still no clue what we are talking about?

You do know the Paris Agreement, right?

Let’s explain, COP21 was the 21st edition of United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted in Paris in 2015. COP actually stands for Conference of the Parties, also known as the Paris Agreement.

If we follow this logic, COP26 is thus the 26th edition of the Climate Conference of the Parties.

Although many topics within sustainability are unknown and often sound quite complex, it is super fun to get involved!

What is the COP all about?

The COP is an annual event where world leaders agree on a collective action plan to address the threats of climate change. This initiative started in Berlin in 1995 but has since then moved location each year. In 2015, Paris had the honor to host the 21st edition of the COP, which became pretty well-known because 196 countries agreed to limit global warming below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. For the first time in history, almost every country in the world entered a legally binding commitment to reduce emissions.

Today, we are 6 years later and a few days away from the start of the 26th and the most crucial edition of the COP. From November 1st until November 12th, the UK and Italy will cohost the COP26 in Glasgow.

Why is COP26 so important ?

First of all, as part of the Paris Agreement, every country agreed to communicate or update their emissions reduction targets (also called NDC, Nationally Determined Contribution) to reflect their highest possible ambition and progression over time. At COP26, all participating countries must present their 2030 emissions reductions to limit global warming below 1,5°C. To reach the stretching target, everyone will have to accelerate the phaseout of coal, encourage investment in renewables, speed up the switch to electric vehicles, etc.

It is thus time to turn ambitions into action by advancing collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society if we want to deliver on climate goals.