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COP26 to focus on reducing emissions, quitting fossil fuels, climate finance

The upcoming 26th UN Climate Conference (COP26) is set to focus on rapid reduction of global emissions, quitting fossil fuels, and climate finance at the top of its agenda.

Slated to be held between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12 in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, COP26 is expected to be the site where countries will make new commitments in the fight against climate change caused by human activity.

Some 25,000 delegates from approximately 200 countries are expected to attend the summit, held under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), amid rising calls for stronger action to limit the global temperature rise — so far at 1.1 C degrees compared to the pre-industrial period — to 1.5 C degrees at the end of the century.

COP26 will be the first meeting to review the progress made in the fight against the climate crisis after the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, where the parties presented their nationally determined contribution targets for reducing emissions.

Current policies insufficient

The current policies in the world can only achieve a 20% reduction in global emissions by 2030, according to International Energy Agency data.

Meanwhile, data from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) suggests that there is a risk that global temperatures will rise by 2.7 C degrees by the end of the century under current policies.

In order to maintain humane living conditions, the temperature increase must be limited to 1.5 C, which will require a 55% reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

On the other hand, developed countries are expected to take more ambitious steps and contribute more to climate financing efforts as they share the bulk of the responsibility of emissions.

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, many countries increased their commitments to reduce emissions and reach net zero by 2050.

Scientists and recently published international reports warn that these commitments are not being entirely translated into action, which they say is insufficient.

There are catastrophic differences between limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 C degrees or 2 C degrees, experts also warn, saying that missing this mark could have such consequences as making coastal areas uninhabitable due to sea level rise, extreme weather events, more frequent disasters such as droughts and floods, and increased food and health insecurity.

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