Planet

On The Verge Of A Global Now Or Never: The 26th UN Climate Change Conference

November 4, 2021 By Sandra Gancz

Climate change is a global crisis that absolutely needs a global solution. We simply can’t wait to act against the threat of rising temperatures. The stakes aren’t hypothetical anymore. People across the world are already living with record heat waves and raging storms. The entire world is witness to the devastation caused by climate change.

This decade is decisive and we need to turn goals into actions. Governments, businesses and civil society need to work together to transform the ways we power our homes and businesses, grow our food, develop infrastructure and move ourselves and goods around.

This November, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference to address the issue for the 26th time. These are talks brokered by the United Nations to bring countries together to deal with the climate crisis. The hope is world leaders will agree on concrete plans on how to reach Net Zero by 2050.

COP is the world’s biggest summit on the world’s biggest issue.

Due to the importance of this year’s summit, many high profile guests are also planning to attend the Glasgow summit. Greta Thunberg is one of the latest names to join the list of attendees alongside David Attenborough and Pope Francis.

Throughout the two weeks, workshops, exhibitions and discussion groups will help promote social action and education around environmental issues. Many of the events will also be available online. If you aren’t able to make it to Glasgow, you can join them virtually via the COP26 YouTube channel.

“Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change. It is with ambition, courage and collaboration as we approach the crucial COP26 summit in the UK that we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.” – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson

What is that Net Zero goal everyone is talking about?

Net Zero means completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. This can be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.

The excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most dangerous and abundant of greenhouse gases, that’s why environmental efforts refer to cutting carbon emissions, reducing carbon footprints, and seeking low-carbon alternatives.

How is carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere?

Taking CO2 away from the atmosphere, known as carbon offset, can be done through activities like planting trees, protecting rainforests, and regenerating the soil. Plants absorb CO2 as they grow, through photosynthesis. Therefore, having more plants growing or growing faster will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

If we know the problem, why can’t we agree on the solution?

Although the world has more than plenty of scientific evidence on how fossil fuels are overheating our environment, there are many commercial interests getting in the way of agreements. Oil and coal producers want to keep selling their products and making a profit, often putting short-term gains ahead of long-term global prosperity.

As reported by the BBC, a huge leak of documents shows not all countries can focus on curbing climate change as their top priority due to financial constraints. Australia, for example, the fourth highest coal producer in the world, rejects concluding that closing coal-fired plants is necessary, even though ending the use of coal is one of the COP26 goals.

The report in preparation for the summit also states that plant-based diets can reduce gas emissions by up to 50%. However, Brazil and Argentina, two of the biggest beef producers, argue strongly against evidence that reducing meat consumption is necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

We don’t blame companies for wanting to stay in business, we understand the wellbeing of the millions of people who work in these industries is extremely important. Solving the global climate crisis entails finding a balance between people, planet and prosperity.

We acknowledge that governments and companies have competing interests. The COP26 is intended to figure out and put in place the mechanics necessary to preserve individual and global wellbeing. We need to be vocal and let leaders and companies know that it is not all about economics, that without a planet there are no profits to be made, and that we have a moral responsibility to leave the world better than we found it or at least not worse.

Watch this powerful documentary film to learn more:

To better understand the carbon offset process, we highly recommend the film “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix narrated by Woody Harrelson, where science experts and celebrity activists unpack the ways in which the earth’s soil may be the key to combating climate change and preserving the planet.