COP26 - Speak For The Ocean
4 min read
Taking place in Glasgow between 31 Oct – 12 Nov, COP26 is the 26th annual United Nations climate conference. But this isn’t just another international summit. It is the most important international climate event since the 2015 Paris Climate talks (COP21).
Since COP began, climate change has become a global priority and COP26 has a unique urgency; as world leaders are joined by tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for 12 days of talks which will decide the future of our planet and affect millions of human lives.
The ocean is the life support system of our planet, providing countless solutions to the climate crisis, and as such should be front and centre of the debate.
Speak for the ocean.
International conferences are complex and immense; deals struck behind closed doors and rooms full of the same people, saying the same things. But the ocean does not have a voice, save through those who take it upon themselves to be that voice.
Ocean mic gives you the chance to be that voice. Just you, 3 minutes and a microphone, to share your love of the sea, and why we should protect it. From online submissions to drop in sessions at selected stores, we want you to raise your voice and call on governments to act now.
What are the goals at COP26?
1) Secure Global Net Zero by 2050 & keep global heating within 1.5 degrees.
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs) that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to accelerate the phaseout of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.
2) Adapt to protect communities & natural habitats.
The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to enable and encourage countries to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
3) Mobilise Finance
To realise the first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. International financial institutions must play their part and nations need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
4) Work together to deliver
We can only rise to the challenges of climate change by working together. At COP26 nations must finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement). And, they must turn ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on climate goals faster.
Why does limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees matter?
At 2 degrees of global warming, there would be widespread and severe impacts on people and nature. A third of the world’s population would be regularly exposed to severe heat, leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths. Almost all warm water coral reefs would be destroyed, and the Arctic sea ice would melt entirely at least one summer per decade, with devastating impacts on wildlife and the communities they support. We cannot rule out the possibility that irreversible loss of ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic could be triggered, leading to several metres of sea level rise over centuries to come.
At 1.5°C, the impacts would be serious, but less severe. There would be lower risks of food and water shortages, lower risks to economic growth and fewer species at risk of extinction. Threats to human health from air pollution, disease, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat would also be lower.
This is why every fraction of a degree of warming matters. It is vital that governments and international organisations work together to keep the prospect of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive.
For a more in-depth look at COP26, you can visit the UK govt website dedicated to the event here.