By Barbara Leo, NEPAS Conservation Chair
What is COP26 anyway?….it stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.
For nearly 30 years the UN has been bringing countries together to address the issues and effects of a changing climate. This conference is the 26th gathering and is the most urgent for finding agreeable and equitable solutions to our rising global temperatures. All the goals agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement which, based on scientific data, limited temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celesius (2.7degrees F) are not being achieved. Current data indicates that the next 10 years are crucial to limit global warming before catastrophes that we have been experiencing during the last 2 years are common occurrences and out of control.
What has been the outcome of the current meetings and has the agreement reached on November 13, 2021 achieved its goals? These were (1) strengthening and increasing commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions, (2) increasing global finances to find and use clean energy to reduce and eliminate fossil fuels, (3) address loss and damage to those countries experiencing the most damage from heat waves, sea rise, flooding and fires. Are they achievable considering the challenges that each of the 197 countries face from the widely diverse citizenry?
Let us have hope that we can make a difference in our own lives because the COP26 agreement, just reached, does not meet the goals entirely. We must keep the pressure on our elected representatives and tell them that scientific data is fast predicting that our humanity is on the line and we must act for the common good of us all. This is not about politics it is about saving our future. I would recommend that for anyone who is still skeptical of the science, that you watch a Netflix documentary Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet narrated by Richard Attenborough. This film is the product of what happens when 126 Nobel Laureates issued an emergency call from scienceto humanity, calling for reason, truth and humanism in the transformation towards an equitable and prosperous future in a safe operating space. It is about the hope that if we act together for that common end, we can save our humanity.