COP26-Global Summit to Address Climate Change
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
In 2015, the Global Climate Risk Index listed the Philippines as the number one country affected by climate change. The major risks identified by Government include major rainfall changes, weather extremes, dying corrals, declining rice yields, coral loss, more intense drought, higher sea level rise, public health emergencies (dengue, typhoid, malaria, and dysentery), more women endangered and killed, and decline of labour productivity. (https://climate.gov.ph/files/CC_Executive-Brief_V32.compressed.pdf)
Canada too will suffer from the impact of climate change, including climate and ocean warming, ocean acidification threatening marine ecosystems' health, more extreme heat, less extreme cold, longer growing seasons, thinning glaciers, thawing permafrost, rising sea level, and storm surges. (https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/Climate-change/pdf/CCCR_HeadlineStatements-EN-033119-FINAL.pdf)
Globally, the environmental crisis has worsened through increased carbon emissions from human activities, especially from use of fossil fuels. In response to the environmental and other related consequences of climate change, nations have been holding a series of conferences known as the Conference of Parties (COP), to address this planetary crisis. At the first Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) was established to create agreements to act on climate change. The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005 commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets for GHGs (Greenhouse Gases).
However, the most recent scientific report of the IPCC, Climate Change 2021 concluded that atmospheric carbon emissions, global temperatures, and sea levels have continued to increase. (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf)
The evidence clearly requires strong and unified action by all countries at the 26th COP climate summit, presently being held in Glasgow, Scotland to focus on accelerating progress made on the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC. While member nations will have official delegations, an estimated over 20,000 environmental advocates and NGOs for climate action will also be present.
Canada's delegation is led by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Guilbeault of Environment and Climate Change and includes representatives of federal opposition parties, representatives of provinces and Territories, including Ministers and Environments and Premiers, as well as National Indigenous Organizations and Representatives, youth, civil society, business, labour, and Canadian municipalities.
The Philippine delegation are Government Officials from the Finance and Foreign Affairs Department. Departing from past UN Climate Summits, not one official from the Climate Change Commission is in the delegation. There are also no civil society groups or members of the academe in the delegation, unlike in past COPs.(https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/names-philippine-delegation-cop26-glasgow-united-nations-climate-summit-2021)
Sir David Attenborough "told delegates at COP26 that they are powerful enough to save the planet if they work together. In an impassioned speech to leaders, the naturalist and COP peoples' advocate brought together a video of the natural world and voices of young people to warn that, because of rising carbon dioxide levels, "the stability we all depend on is breaking". (https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-59121615)
Pope Francis urges leaders at COP26 to be "courageous" in tackling climate change. The "vital task" of the Glasgow meeting, he said, is to show the world that "there really exists a political will to devote - with honesty, responsibility, and courage - greater human, financial and technological resources to mitigating the negative effects of climate change and assisting the poorer and more vulnerable nations most affected by it... The wealthier nations must lead the way, not just because they have the resources, but also because they owe an "ecological debt" to the poorer countries whose resources they have exploited". (https://www.catholicnews.com/pope-urges-leaders-at-cop26-to-be-courageous-in-tackling-climate-change/)