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UN urges leaders to deliver £72 billion for climate change fight

With COP26 just five months away, global leaders have yet to consolidate the funding they pledged for climate change. The money is essential for mapping the next steps towards climate action.

We’re all familiar with the saying ‘money makes the world go round.’

As wealthy nations hold out on their promise to donate £72 billion to combat climate change by helping developing countries invest in greener technologies, this statement has never rung truer.

Discussions about reaching this target were furthered by the world’s most powerful leaders at the recent G7 summit (read all about that meeting here). However, details of how much money each nation is willing to contribute is still not clear-cut.

This is problematic, as the United Nation’s annual gathering to advance global efforts to combat climate change is fast approaching.

The conference, COP26, will take place on Halloween in Glasgow. It will also serve as an opportunity for leaders to assess progress made since the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The Paris agreement was the largest gathering of world leaders in history to address our warming planet. It saw nations agree to limit global warming to less than 1.5C by drastically reducing their fossil fuel emissions, which are the primary cause of climate change.

As of today, reductions have yet to sufficiently meet this mark.

Patricia Espinosa, the leader of the UN’s climate policy, says ‘time is running out.’ A clear idea of where the proposed money will come from before the commencement of COP26 will be vital in finalising technical solutions for problems on the climate agenda.

Developing a carbon market framework will be a focal topic at COP26. A carbon market would effectively allow a country with high emissions (usually wealthy nations) to buy carbon credits from a country with low emissions (usually poorer nations) in order to keep operating.

This new market would help bolster the global economy and use international trading to help achieve emission reduction targets.

Also on the agenda is funding for loss and damage. Resisted by many wealthy nations, it will be a policy which decides who will fund responses when countries vulnerable to climate change inevitably experience environmental hardship.

Funding for loss and damage was a central part of the Paris Agreement, but no solution has been put in place to date.

That said, a lack of currency isn’t the only thing that’s hindered global climate action in the past.

The most obvious delay to plans in the last year was the pandemic, which saw national survival becoming government’s main focus. We’ve already highlighted how improved vaccine distribution has become a top priority on the international agenda.

Additionally, climate professionals who joined past conferences have criticised the strategy of attendees. A lack of common ground between nations poses a huge problem for reaching agreement on the next steps.

It appears that one of the biggest challenges for COP26 will be for world leaders to look beyond their political differences and find a compromise for the sake of our planet.

One would hope so, as many are at their wits end with their government’s approach to the climate crisis. While collective individual action does make a difference, developing a stronger international policy to reduce carbon emissions will create an immediate and significant impact.

To sum things up, this year’s COP26 meeting could be a serious turning point for world leader’s cohesive action against climate change and the urgency of the UN is warranted, if not necessary.

‘It is essential. We cannot afford a lack of success. COP26 should be able to give some sense of hope to the world,’ UN climate leader Espinosa said.

Like always, we’ll be waiting on the edge of our seats to hear the outcome.


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