COP26 Climate Conference GS- 3  Environmental Pollution & Degradation,  International Treaties & Agreements

COP26 Climate Conference GS- 3  Environmental Pollution & Degradation,  International Treaties & Agreements


The COP 26 United Nations Climate Change Conference will be hosted by the UK from 31st october to 12th November. Earlier, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its assessment report on Earth’s climate, highlighting heat waves, droughts, extreme rainfall and sea-level rise in the coming decades.


The Conference of Parties comes under the UNFCCC which was formed in 1994. The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

COP is the apex decision-making authority of UNFCCC. It laid out a list of responsibilities for the member states which included Formulating measures to mitigate climate change. Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change. Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change.

COP members have been meeting every year since 1995. The UNFCCC has 198 parties including India, China and the USA. Generally it meets in Bonn, the seat of the secretariat, unless a Party offers to host the session. The office of the COP President normally rotates among the five United Nations regional groups which are – Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others. The President is usually the environment minister of his or her home country. S/he is elected by acclamation immediately after the opening of a COP session.


COP 26 Goals: According to the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC), COP26 will work towards four goals:

Net Zero by 2050: To secure Global Net-Zero by Mid-Century and keep 1.5 Degrees within reach. Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. 

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • Accelerate the phase-out of coal

  • Curtail deforestation

  • Speed up the switch to electric vehicles

  • Encourage investment in renewables.

Adapt to Protect Communities and Natural Habitats: Countries will work together to ‘protect and restore ecosystems and build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.’

Mobilise Finance: Developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least USD100bn in climate finance per year.

Work Together to Deliver: Another important task at the COP26 is to ‘finalise the Paris Rulebook’. Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.

Suggestions for India:

Update its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

(NDCs detail the various efforts taken by each country to reduce the national emissions). Sector by sector plans are needed to bring about development. Decarbonisation of the electricity, transport sector and starting to look at carbon per passenger mile is needed. Aggressively figure out how to transition the coal sector.

COP’s with Significant Outcomes

  • 1995: COP1 (Berlin, Germany)

  • 1997: COP 3 (Kyoto Protocol)-It legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.

  • 2002: COP 8 (New Delhi, India) Delhi Declaration-Focuses on the development needs of the poorest countries and the need for technology transfer for mitigating climate change.

  • 2007: COP13 (Bali, Indonesia)-Parties agreed on the Bali Road Map and Bali action plan, which charted the way towards a post-2012 outcome. The Plan has five main categories: shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing.

  • 2010: COP 16 (Cancun)-Resulted in the Cancun Agreements, a comprehensive package by governments to assist developing nations in dealing with climate change. The Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and the Cancun Adaptation Framework were established.

  • 2011: COP 17 (Durban)-Governments commit to a new universal climate change agreement by 2015 for the period beyond 2020 (Resulted in the Paris Agreement of 2015).

  • 2015: COP21 (Paris)-To keep global temperature well below 2.0C above pre-industrial times and endeavor them to limit them even more to 1.5C. It requires rich nations to maintain USD 100bn a year funding pledge beyond the year 2020.

  • 2016: COP22 (Marrakech) –To move forward on writing the rule book of the Paris Agreement. Launched the Marrakech Partnership for Climate Action.

  • 2017: COP23, Bonn (Germany)-Countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement will work from 2020 onwards. First set of negotiations since the US, under the presidency of Donald Trump, announced its intention earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris deal. It was the first COP to be hosted by a small-island developing state with Fiji taking up the presidency, even though it was being held in Bonn.

  • 2018: COP 24, Katowice (Poland)-It finalized a “rulebook” to operationalise the 2015 Paris Agreement. The rulebook covers climate financing facilities and the actions to be taken as per Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

  • 2019: COP25, Madrid (Spain) It was held in Madrid (Spain). There were no concrete plans regarding the growing climatic urgency.



plutus ias daily current affairs 20 Oct 2021

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