COP26 – Climate Change and the United Nations

The Glasgow COP26 in November is fast approaching and the eyes of the world will be watching intently.

What is COP26?

It is the 26th ‘Conference Of the Parties’, which is a United Nations summit.

Why is it important?

It is the place where the United Nations will discuss the effects of Climate Change upon the world. It will also be the place where Nations will report on what they have done to control carbon emissions of the past 5 years, since the Paris COP21 meeting.

Why are carbon emissions dangerous?

Almost all scientific evidence shows that the rise in carbon emissions are having a significant damaging effect upon global warming. This in turn is creating an exponential growth in climatic disasters such as floods, wildfires, increased temperature, melting ice caps. This has a devastating effect upon the environment and human and animal communities. In short the whole planet is at risk as a result of human activity.
COP26 is intending to secure Net Zero emissions by 2050 by phasing out the use of fossil fuels, stopping deforestation and speeding up investment in renewable energy sources and electric vehicles.
Additionally it hopes to protect communities and natural habitats by joint international working and financing.

Is this all too late?

No, but scientists are agreed that urgent international action needs to be taken now.

But the United Nations can’t agree on anything can they?

Yes they can and they must. In 1987 the first universally ratified UN treaty was agreed to stop the use of CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbon) in aerosols and refrigerators, which was destroying the ozone layer. This United Nations action stopped the decay and the ozone layer is recovering. This must be replicated on carbon emissions.

Is this a young person’s issue?

It is an issue for everyone and the whole planet.
Young people internationally have taken a decisive role in addressing climate change. They should be applauded and supported in their actions.

Are we in the broad labour movement doing enough?

No, we need to step up to the mark and use our local, national and international labour links to achieve the agreed political and social actions. Isolated acts of civil disobedience will achieve nothing.
There will be a number of Trade Union initiatives in the lead up to COP26 and a Global Day of Action on 6th November involving demonstrations in Glasgow, London and elsewhere.
One world, one solution and as Bob Marley wrote: one love.
Donald McCombie
UNISON Birmingham Branch