The 2021 United Nations climate change conference (COP26) is currently taking place in Glasgow city of Scotland in the United Kingdom. The conference, which was supposed to be held in November 2020, was postponed due to Covid-19 effects worldwide. Global leaders are converging to deliberate on climate crisis matters with a primary agenda on the Paris agreement, attaining zero carbon and emphasizing on protecting and retaining intact ecosystems such as forests and coral reefs. On the other hand, global health leaders are concomitantly confronting another global threat to human health, Covid-19. The world is lucky to have the COP26 conference taking place since there had been threats from a worldwide network of NGOs demanding the postponement of the summit due to the pandemic.
The effects of climate change can now be felt all over the world. From rising temperatures to floods and drought, COP26, therefore, comes when the world needs it most. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity, which in October 2021 published global warming of 1.5C. The IPCC scientists also warned that the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement not to exceed 2.0C will be beyond reach in the 21st century if proper mitigation measures are not put in place.
In his opening speech, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson energetically released a ray of hope to the world with tactful ways to combat climate change. He compared the whole climate change scenario to a James Bond movie and stated that this was a ticking time bomb and it was time to defuse the bomb before it goes off.
“The longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act”, he said. The prime minister promised the world that the UK will lead the fight against carbon emissions by planting millions of trees and ending the new sale of hydrocarbon combustion engines by 2030.
Focusing on Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his speech at COP26, highlighted plans to promote a sustainable economy and green manufacture by promising restoration of degraded water towers, accelerating forest restoration and increasing the country’s tree cover to at least 10%.
“We need to urgently implement proactive mitigation and adaptation measures to avert the looming crisis. It is the least we can do to redeem the peaceful and sustainable planet to future generations”, he affirmed. The president added that the extreme weather events have led to losses of between 3-5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually; thus, provisions to help the most vulnerable adapt through financial support should be strengthened.
Climate change emergencies need immediate action. The world risks facing a global catastrophe if nothing is done. Climate change poses an extreme threat to the world and COP26 releases a ray of hope to the planet. As global leaders lock heads in Glasgow, the world remains hopeful that there will be a white smoke and a more solid direction towards a green, clean and carbon-free future. COP 26 will run until the 12th of November, 2021.