As humans continue to use up all the world’s natural resources, the constant burning of fossil fuels leads to the ever worsening heating of the planet. Global warming creates many problems such as increased drought, higher likelihood of wildfires, reduced agricultural yields, and many more. World leaders recognized the looming problem of global warming and scheduled the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, taking place between October 31 and November 12. COP26 brings together world leaders, climate experts, and campaigners to formulate a plan for how to address the climate crisis. COP26 was originally scheduled to take place in November of 2020, but had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Research shows that humans are expected to extract much more fossil fuels than would remain within global targets, making COP26 one of the most important climate conferences held to date.
Leader’s main focus at the conference will be to meet goals made as a part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This agreement aims to limit global heating to under 2 degrees celsius, or preferably 1.5. Exceeding these numbers could lead to reaching a tipping point, where global warming becomes out of our control. All countries committed to the Paris Agreement, pacting to reduce their carbon footprint. However, renowned climate scientists have warned that limiting global heating to around 1.5 or 2 degrees in the next few decades is impossible without immediate large-scale emission reductions.
The major fossil fuel producing countries expect the production of oil, gas, and coal to continue increasing over the next 20 years, and most governments continue to aim large funds at fossil fuel production. Research shows if people hope to prevent the large-scale effects of climate change, most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must be left alone. At COP26, world leaders hope to outline a plan to stick with the 2015 Paris Agreement and prevent further problems. In the meantime, countries can push more funds towards renewable energy sources, rather than fossil fuels, and individuals can become conscious of their contribution to global warming, because every small difference helps.