COP26

Glasgow is currently gearing up to host COP26, an event which has been hailed by Prince Charles as a 'last-chance saloon' in the fight against climate change. It's a chance for country leaders and representatives to unite and discuss an ever-pressing issue that is becoming impossible to ignore.

But what exactly is COP26? Why is it important? And what can be done as individuals and business owners to ensure we're doing everything we can to ensure a greener future.

Written by Small Business Britain

What is it?

Under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), every country has pledged a commitment to avoid 'dangerous climate change.' Something that scientists say would occur if the planet breaches a 2C temperature rise, a figure that if breached, would be catastrophic for the natural world.

COP, stands for conference of parties and is a collective term for the countries who have met almost every year since 1992, to discuss climate change, and how the world can respond in a united way. Back in the COP of 2015 a landmark moment occurred when the Paris Agreement was signed - an agreement from nations across the world to keep their emissions well below 2C, ideally below 1.5C, as well as reducing the number of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

This year will be the first time in two years that the conference has taken place - last year was cancelled due to the pandemic.

So, this brings us to this year's COP26 (the 26th time the meeting has occurred). It'll run from the 31st of October - 12th of November and will involve dignitaries from across the world flying into Glasgow to discuss the next steps in the global battle against climate change. World leaders will be reporting on progress made since the 2015 Paris agreement, and potentially making new decisions about next steps.

Why is it important?

The disastrous effects of climate are already being felt around the world, and its pace has been described by a UK former chief scientist as 'scary,' and it's been stated that the scientific community hadn't expected to see such 'extreme events so soon'.

What are the goals?

Four key goals have been outlined for COP26:

  1. To secure global net zero by the middle of the century and stay within that all important 1.5C margin. Nations are being asked to show what moves they are making to reduce their emissions by 2030.
  2. Adapt to protect natural habitats and communities - This involves the protection and restoration of ecosystems, as well as ensuring resilient infrastructure protecting homes and livelihoods of those most at risk to the effects of climate disasters.
  3. Mobilise finance - battling climate change won't be cheap. To deliver the intended goals, developed countries must fulfil their promise of mobilising at least $100 billion a year in climate finance.
  4. Work together to deliver - the fight against climate change cannot be won by one country alone.

What can you do to help?

So, while the world leaders are making decisions on a worldwide scale - what can small business owners do to help the UK achieve its climate commitments? It's easy to feel like our individual impact is merely a drop in the ocean, but small businesses make up 99% of businesses across the UK and can really make difference. The first thing to do as small business is to pledge net zero on the SME Climate Hub. It's a great step in the direction towards your business contributes to a more sustainable future.

This year our Small Business Saturday tour will be kicking off at COP26 to highlight the important role small businesses play in helping the achieve the UK's net zero goals. As well as the fleet of electric vehicles that will be touring the nation throughout November, online workshops and mentoring opportunities will be taking place - many with an eco-focus to help you make those next steps on your business' sustainability journey.

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Published: 25 October 2021