COP26: The 26th UN Climate Change Conference
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP26 kicked off on Sunday the 31st October in Glasgow, where political parties from around the world unite to discuss climate change and inspire action globally. For those who have not heard of Cop26, with there being less than a quarter of British people who have, it is a conference where world leaders come together to address their plans to tackle the huge issues of climate change.
For the UK, in 2019 - for almost two decades - we saw our economy grow by 78% whilst our emissions decreased by 44%. Currently, we are planting trees on 30,000 hectares of land each year by 2025 and have announced plans that put farmers at the forefront of reversing environmental decline and tackling climate change. To reach net zero by mid-century, it is asked that for the 26th conference countries prepare 2030 emission reduction targets which will require phasing out of coal, encouraging investment in renewables, reducing deforestation, and accelerating the shift to electric vehicles. As well as this, a minimum of $100 billion in climate finance needs to be raised annually by developed countries. Targets are being made due to the concern that, by 2100, global temperature will rise to 3 degrees. The aim is to limit the temperature to 1.5 degrees, and whilst there has been recent progress to prevent us from seeing 3 degrees, a lot of work needs to be done to see a temperature no higher than 1.5 degrees.
Unfortunately, a recent data leak of documents reflects that not all countries are willing to work together to act against global warming – particularly countries with large carbon footprints. Emission targets need to be met with the help of financial support to developing countries, yet Switzerland argued against this along with Australia. This was not the only input from Australia as a senior Australian government official found that it is unnecessary for the use of fossil fuels to be reduced. Brazil and Argentina are the world’s biggest beef producers, which has a huge impact on the environment due to it generating 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of meat produced. The two countries are searching for findings that support plant-based diets to be removed, of course for the sake of their economy, but the reluctance to contribute can seriously affect whether the targets are met. On top of this, countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland suggested nuclear energy can positively contribute to delivering the majority of the United Nations Agenda, whilst India argued that the UN report was biased against the energy. Nuclear energy, despite not directly producing carbon emissions, still produces it through plant construction, uranium mining, and manufacturing operations which then in turn contributes to global warming which generates a lot of concern that some countries are finding ways for it to be seen positively. Despite China being the biggest producer in the world of CO2, president Xi Jinping has not attended the conference and the country is instead being represented by vice-environment minister Zhao Yingmin. Of course this adds to the worry about targets not being met as there needs to be drastic change, particularly in China, to prevent further damage to the planet.
However, the fashion industry is partaking in the conference to take action and to acknowledge the differences that can be made. Organisations such as Fashion Revolution, Fashion Roundtable, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Common Objective, Eco-Age, and The Sustainable Angle have come together to create a letter for world leaders recognising the net-zero target and how the industry can work on tackling the issue of global warming. The organisations seek support from world leaders in the letter by requesting that the potential for solution is recognised and that there is a necessity for businesses to become more responsible towards their global supply chains as well as encouraging people to learn, make, and repair their clothes.
“COP26 is a fantastic opportunity to remind the world’s leaders, not only of the importance that the fashion industry plays in the global economy, but also that many of us are united in seeking new ways of doing business, which place[ the welfare of] people and planet first. This call to action is a united voice and we hope that the world’s leaders take this moment to address the climate crisis, with the solutions and far-reaching policies it requires from all of us.” – Tamara Cincik, CEO of Fashion Roundtable.
Whilst the efforts of the fashion industry are exciting, there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether countries will act on the requests made in the letter written by the organisations which, due to the lack of action, we have seen by countries like Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and many more. Here at Scarlet Destiny, we will be paying close attention to COP26 and will post updates regarding the outcome.
Do you think world leaders will take action following the requests from fashion organisations like Fashion Revolution in order to meet the targets?
Information sourced from:
Featured Image sourced from The Digital Artist, Pixabay & DrSJS, Pixabay
Image 1 sourced from TheDigitalArtist, Pixabay
Image 2 sourced from Magdalena Kula Manchee, Unsplash
Image 3 sourced from Markus Spiske, Unsplash
Image 4 sourced from Francois Le Nguyen, Unsplash