In recent weeks, COP26 took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Numerous world leaders attended this summit to discuss the climate change crisis and put across their proposals on how they can do more to create a better world in the future.

As this was such a historical event, many are wondering ‘what can come from COP26?’. It is important for realistic expectations to be set, but to also be hopeful for positive outcomes going forwards in the fight against climate change.

In this article, we will answer many of the questions that our customers are asking, and provide an insight into what impact COP26 can have on our planet going forwards.

What is COP26?

COP26 (Conference of the Parties 26) was an event that had been arranged by the United Nations to involve all countries that are involved in climate change negotiations to provide proposals on achieving a better planet for all in the coming years. They chose the number ‘26’ as this event is hosted every year and this was the 26th time that these nations came together for the summit.

Why Is COP26 So Important?

The world is currently at a crisis point and it is no secret that the 2020s could be a defining decade for humanity’s future. Record temperatures have been striking different parts of the world, and we have seen unusual weather patterns and devastating wildfires spreading in different continents. Not only this, but we are beginning to see drought-related disasters take place in African countries such as Kenya, where the food and water supply has been impacted. All of these collective events have sent one message to the world – now is the time to act. And that is where COP26 comes in. 

This summit was where pledges and promises were made, and where treaties were signed by world leaders to counter the devastating effects of the world’s climate heating up. The meetup of countries from around the world was a platform to increase the common goal to protect the world’s rainforests, water levels and overall climate, and what happened here could impact our daily lives going forwards.

What Impact Could COP26 Have?

Ultimately, COP26 has likely changed day to day life in a drastic way for every human being on planet earth. The way we use energy, harness industry, agriculture and how we maximise our resources will likely change forever over the coming years. 

To understand the full scale of how our lives could change soon, it is important to understand what has been agreed by world leaders at the summit:

  • More than 40 world leaders have agreed on a plan (created by the UK) to accelerate clean technology and make it more affordable by 2030.
  • A financial programme has been launched by the EU to support ground-breaking climate technology innovation. This initiative is also supported by Bill Gates.
  • Financial giants that have an overall 40% control of the world’s assets will support the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit.
  • Five leading nations (including the UK) will provide $1.7billion in financial support to the indigenous people’s efforts to conserve forests and jungles.
  • Over 100 countries that hold 85% of planet earth’s forests have signed their names on a UK-led pledge to stop and reverse deforestation. These countries include Brazil, Russia, Colombia and Indonesia.
  • Many of the countries, including the UK, have pledged to hit net-zero by the year 2050, whereas India has committed to hitting this target by 2070.
  • The United States and the EU have launched a joint initiative to cut the amount of methane that is released into the Earth’s atmosphere. Dozens of world leaders have signed up for the project.
  • A joint agreement from China and the United States is set to boost climate cooperation across the next decade to achieve the 1.5C temperature goal.

If every country that has signed up to these pledges carry out their side of the bargain, then this will have a dramatic impact on jobs, industry, transportation, food, drink, retail and every sector that exists in our society. However, the result of this is a secure future for the foreseeable generations.

What Should the UK Government Do Next?

Since we have witnessed encouraging signs from world leaders committing their countries’ futures to tackle the climate crisis, there were plenty of positives to take away from COP26. Boris Johnson had a lot of stirring words at the summit, but will he put the talk into action?

The first thing the British government needs to look at is pressuring major firms into committing to net-zero by 2050. This will not be an easy task, but with a collective effort from the UK’s allies, it is entirely possible to achieve this as many firms have been getting away with climate-damaging practices for decades with little resistance. 

The British government also needs to mobilise finances into subsidies for more renewable energy for homes, businesses and every other walk of life. However, the recent announcement from the chancellor’s budget that there will be a freeze on fuel duty and cuts to domestic flight tax isn’t the most encouraging sign that Boris Johnson’s team is fully prepared for the challenge ahead.

Major changes are needed to our daily life and whilst the pledges at COP26 were the first steps to achieving an eco-friendly planet, there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, there is always hope. As the Queen famously said in her address to world leaders on the opening day of the summit; ‘History has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope.’

Was the Summit Successful?

To summarise, the congregation of major world leaders making joint promises to protect our planet was very encouraging. However, the absence of China’s, Brazil’s and Russia’s leaders might suggest that they are not taking this as seriously as they need to. Since they are currently two of the world’s biggest polluters and are committing more deforestation than the rest of the world combined, there might still be a long way to go in a short space of time.