The highly anticipated COP26 climate change summit begins today in the Scottish city of Glasgow. 

The United Nations gathering is one of the biggest summits the UK has ever hosted, and was delayed for a year because of the pandemic. COP stands for “conference of the parties” and it is the 26th such conference.

Most of the leaders will arrive late on Sunday evening. Many are travelling from another summit, the G20, in Rome.

Delegates from about 200 countries will be there to announce how they will cut emissions by 2030 and help the planet.

With the world warming because of fossil fuel emissions caused by humans, scientists warn that urgent action is needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Columban Sister, Sr. Kate Midgley, travelled on the ‘Climate Train’ from London to Glasgow and is the Congregational representative at the COP26 and a member of the Columban Sisters’ Laudato Si Team.

Countries from every region of the world will have representatives in Glasgow, ready to discuss their plans to cut emissions by 2030.

They all agreed in 2015 to make changes to keep global warming “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels but since then, as extreme weather events have intensified, climate scientists have urged nations to aim for 1.5C to limit the risk of environmental disaster.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said agreement would be “tougher than what we achieved in Paris” five years ago, when almost all the world’s nations agreed a treaty to ‘pursue efforts’ to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C. 

“This is on leaders,” he said. “They need to come forward and we need to collectively agree how we are going to meet this goal.”

The past decade was the warmest on record, and governments agree urgent collective action is needed.


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