COP26 was the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference that brought together over 200 world leaders to review their steps towards keeping the targeted 1.5oC within reach. For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together all parties to the Paris Agreement for the global climate summit known as the ‘Conference of the Parties’ COP26. Climate change over this period has moved from being a fringe issue to a global emergency. 2021 saw the 26th annual summit hence the term COP26 in the run-up to the summit. IRCK’s Environment and Climate Change Program Officer Antony Blaize had the opportunity to have a candid chat with Dr Raj Phanden aka Cycle Baba from Bhuna Fatehabad District in India. He is an Ayurvedic doctor which he has practised almost for a decade in Haryana – India. Cycle Baba started back in 2016 with a mission titled ‘Wheels for Green’, World Bicycle Traveler from India on a Bicycle to travel across the globe to create awareness on environmental pollution, global warming, climate change, and its effect on the human race while encouraging tree plantations to combat the issues.
Cycle Baba had a different perspective on the COP26 in Glasgow emphasizing the need for not only the government and private sector to tackle climate change but a need for each and every individual person to be involved in tackling climate change. According to Cycle Baba, the Conference was just but a portion of what needs to be done to save the planet. At the time of the interview with Cycle Baba, he had visited 59 countries with Kenya being his 60th stop point. He had saved more than 12,000kgs of carbon dioxide and planted more than 103,000 trees. Having been inspired by the story following the COP26 outcomes was insightful and a critical function to the Wheels of Green.
Highs and Lows of COP26
The Glasgow Climate Pact captures many Parties and wishes to fully embed science in the decision-making process. It frames the action in terms of science, demonstrating that COP26 is responding to what scientists say needs to happen to keep 1.5OC in reach. Science is used to illustrate the situation the world is facing, the need to urgently scale up ambition in all areas of climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement while acknowledging that some parties have a greater responsibility than others to tackle the crisis.
Clear statements that the changing climate has already and will increasingly cause loss and damage were raised.
A notable outcome of COP26, as recorded in the Pact, is the call for “developed country Parties to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing nations from 2019 levels by 2025. Parties agreed to continue discussions on long-term finance through to 2027. Parties also agreed to begin the process of setting a new collective quantified post-2025 goal and that this process would be open, inclusive and transparent, seeking a broad spectrum of views and inputs. Parties agreed to technical work on capacity-building, including annual technical progress reports for the Paris Committee on capacity building. In the Pact, Parties noted the importance of continuing to enhance international coherence and coordination of capacity-building. Parties recognized the need to continue to support developing countries to identify capacity-building gaps and find solutions to resolve these.
Clear statements that the changing climate has already and will increasingly cause loss and damage were raised. It endorsed the need for more money to be provided to tackle loss and damage through existing sources. COP26 also founded the Glasgow Dialogue, where Parties, civil society and technicians will come together to discuss how to increase the funds applied to loss and damage and how Parties in need can access these funds. A consensus was not reached on a proposal from developing countries to set up a financing facility dedicated to lose and damage. This for Africa was a huge failure in part of COP26 as it ignores all the calls by climate activists as Vanessa Nakate for climate justice. As the lights went off in Glasgow on 13th December for Africa their hope was that the upcoming Africa COP27 in Egypt next year will rewrite all the wrongs and speed up climate actions.
By Janet Mwende