PBI-Canada begins to plan for the COP26 climate summit in Scotland this November
The United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) climate summit will take place this coming November 1-12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Despite criticisms of the COP process, COP26 is seen as the crucial follow-up to the COP21 summit that took place in Paris in December 2015.
Under the Paris Agreement reached at COP21, countries committed to a long-term goal of limiting the global temperature increase to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5C.
It also included a clause in which countries agreed to ratchet up their emission reduction targets five years later at COP26.
COP26 was originally going to take place last October, but because of the pandemic has been postponed until this November.
Because of that delay, a Climate Ambition Summit was convened by the UN, United Kingdom and France this past December in which countries were expected to announce their strengthened emission reduction targets.
Seventy-five leaders announced new commitments, including the European Union pledge to reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 and the United Kingdom promise of a reduction of at least 68% by 2030.
Canada said it would strive for the upper end of a range of a 17.7 to 27.4% reduction by 2030 (32-40% below 2005 levels by 2030).
Tim Gore, head of climate policy at Oxfam, commented: “The Climate Ambition Summit lacked real ambition. World leaders must step up in the next 12 critical months to pull the world back from the brink of catastrophic climate change. Commitments to near-term emissions cuts are still insufficient to limit warming to the 1.5C Paris goal.”
Beyond climate change impacting human rights on a global scale, more specifically human rights defenders remain at profound risk.
Global Witness has documented that on average four land and environmental defenders have been killed every week since COP21. More than one-third of those fatal attacks have been against Indigenous land defenders and water protectors.
The United Nations has recognized the dangers faced by defenders.
The UN Human Rights Council passed this resolution explicitly calling for the protection of environmental human rights defenders due to the crucial role they play in protecting vital ecosystems and addressing climate change. You can also read more about the resolution from the International Service for Human Rights.
And yet, this language (and language more broadly about human rights) has not been reflected in the climate agreements reached at the COP summits.
COP26 in November provides a pivotal moment for countries to commit to protection measures for land defenders as part of an overall climate agreement that recognizes the urgency of climate breakdown and its impact on all human rights.
PBI-Canada and other PBI entities are currently planning on how to strategically intervene at COP26. We will be posting more on this as the year unfolds.