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Is COP26 last chance to stop climate and biodiversity crises?

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The COP 26 meeting, beginning at the end of the month, has been billed as the last chance to save the planet.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 is made up of the signatories of the UN Framework on Climate Change, which was agreed in 1994.

The most recent meeting was in Paris in 2015, which saw countries pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).

The aim being to keep warming to 1.5 degrees or below compared to pre-industrial levels.

Unfortunately, much of the talk of Paris has just proved to be no more than hot air.

The promises of US$100 billion to be annually transferred to developing countries in order that they can adjust and develop sustainably has failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, the world is on track to heat up to 3 degrees over pre-industrial levels rather than the 1.5 degrees or less needed to avert disaster.

The period since Paris has been marked by ever more extremes of weather – floods, droughts, extreme heat and fires.

Ironically, one of the few things to put a check on climate change was the disaster known as Covid. It brought the world to a halt and with it much damaging CO2 emitting activity.

Now, there needs to be a new normal created that sees the climate and biodiversity crises being dealt with in tandem.

Part of the COP 26 process will be to examine the Nationally Determined Contributions for each country. These are the plans established post Paris to attain the targets set at that conference. There is a good deal of tightening needed if countries are to get anywhere near the targets required.

The countries of the world with the biggest emission levels must come under particular scrutiny.

China is the biggest emitter of CO2, accounting for some 26 per cent. Next comes the US on 13 per cent, followed by India (6 per cent) and Russia (4 per cent).

So much is expected at COP26.

It is possible to make the changes required but time is running out. The world needs to come together for the common good of all, not using these negotiations to get trade, territorial or other advantages from the process. Only a real pulling together and commitment to strive for the betterment of the whole world can save us all.

Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See paulfdonovan.blogspot.com

https://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/19667604.cop26-last-chance-stop-climate-biodiversity-crises/