COP26 Why It Matters to Me
TerraGreen|December 2021
In this article, Jency Samuel says that climate change mitigation measures may be the responsibility of nations’ leaders at COP26. But we need to acknowledge that every action of ours contributes to climate change. While we can’t go back in time, each of us can watch our consumption pattern of food, products and resources to bring about a cumulative impact.
Jency Samuel

With the sound of Deepavali crackers and children’s laughter in the background, I watched the videos of world leaders’ speeches at the COP26 happening in Glasgow. Why should an event in a distant land be of interest to me? Or you for that matter! COP26? COP is an acronym for Conference of the Parties, and this was the 26th edition. Parties refer to the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994. Under this convention, 197 countries agreed to address the problem of climate change. At the COP meet held every year, the parties report and discuss on the actions they had taken and will take to tackle climate change.

Climate Change and Significance of COP26

There is more buzz about COP26 than previous conferences. Because environmentalists and leaders see this as the most significant event after Paris Agreement, and as the world’s best chance to minimize climate change and its impacts.

There crops up another question. What is Paris Agreement? It is an international legal treaty, which the UNFCCC countries adopted at the COP15 meet at Paris in 2015. Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to take measures to limit global warming to below 2°C—preferably 1.5°C—compared to pre-industrial levels. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), pre-industrial is the period before industrial revolution started, and hence taken as 1850–1900.

According to some studies, the world has already warmed by 1.19°C by 2020, compared to the pre-industrial temperature. If it continued at the same rate global warming would be 1.5°C by 2040.

But why we should worry about the warming? Because it is causing climate change. We are using too much of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum to electrify our homes, run our factories, and drive our vehicles. When we burn these fuels, they release greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases trap the sun’s heat, leading to an increase in the Earth’s temperature. Trade winds and monsoons are not just confined to textbooks. Because of the increase in Earth’s temperature, there is a change in the manner and time in which trade winds and monsoons happen. And that is climate change—the drastic changes in weather patterns such as temperature and monsoon rains.

Impacts of Climate Change

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