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UN's important climate meeting, COP26, has officially opened this week. For two weeks, delegates from nearly 200 different countries will meet to discuss climate challenges, adaption and mitigation strategies, and - hopefully - agree on meaningful and forceful plans to combat the threat of climate change.

But these topics have been discussed for several decades now, so what makes this meeting so special? That's because COP26 is considered by scientists, experts, and organizations to be the final chance humanity has to come together and avert global temperatures from reaching more than 1,5 degrees Celsius. If they fail, global temperatures will increase past 2 degrees Celsius and humanity will be thrown into an uncertain future of climate chaos and devastation.

Check out this blog post, which details how current climate pledges are "half measures and hollow promises" and how they will result in a "catastrophic" 2.7C temperature rise.

Let's use this topic to discuss and share news, commentary, and everything else related to COP26.

 

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"Everyone needs to do more - not just China and Russia"

COP26 President Alok Sharma, who has gone vegetarian for the sake of the planet, said at the opening of the climate conference that now is the time to deliver and that he wants "more out of every country."

When asked by Sky News if he wants to see greater commitments from countries such as China and Russia, Sharma answered that "I want more out of every country". Sharma added that "this is a chance for all these countries to show leadership, this is the point where they have to stand up and be counted," and warned that without a deal "the future is really quite unimaginable".

The climate conference, which has been delayed by one year due to the covid-19 pandemic, is the first of its kind since the Paris Meeting in 2015 in which many questions, commitments, and plans remained unanswered. A UN analysis of the countries' existing plans has shown that emissions will increase by 16 percent this decade and that the world is heading for a warming of 2.7 degrees by the end of the century. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the summit will be the "world's moment of truth".

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Sky News has a pretty cool online calculator which shows you how much carbon dioxide has been produced since you were born:

skynews-climate-change-carbon-calculator
NEWS.SKY.COM

With countries trying to work out how to transition to less carbon intensive forms of energy, every year that passes adds ever more CO2...

The calculator shows that in my lifetime, 46,1 percent of all CO2 has so far been emitted. Of this, fossil fuel emissions accounted for 936.9 billion tonnes and land-use change was responsible for 175.4 billion tonnes. Those are some pretty depressing numbers.

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The world's largest economies only managed to make vague climate commitments at G20 summit

At the end of the G20 summit in Rome, the world's largest economies only managed to make vague commitments to seek carbon neutrality "by or around mid-century." US President Joe Biden laid the blame on the weak commitments on Russia and China. "Not only Russia, but China, basically didn't show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change," he said at the event.

Speaking at the event, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that major economies are not doing "their fair share" in tackling climate change and that "will and leadership" is required to progress on the matter. "Currently we are not going to hit it and we have to be honest with ourselves," he warned." We've got to keep that hope alive. The science is clear that we need to act now to halve emissions by 2030 and keep 1.5C within reach."

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First major deal at COP26: More than 100 world leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030

A total of 110 nations - including Brazil where large stretches of the Amazon rainforest are being cut down at an alarming rate - has promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. And their pledges include around $19 billion in US dollars of both public and private funds, the BBC reports. In a response to the deal, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we have to stop the devastating loss of our forests" and "end the role of humanity as nature's conqueror, and instead become nature's custodian".

Matt McGrath, BBC's environment correspondent, says in an analysis of the deal that "there are reasons to be cheerful" about the proposed plan, the financial pledges, and that key countries such as Brazil have committed to the deal. But he also warns that there are significant challenges to the deal and notes that many previous plans against deforestation haven't achieved their goals. In fact, since a similar pledge was launched in 2014 deforestation has actually increased. McGrath also asks if leaders and governments are genuinely willing to push for a reduction in meat consumption to save the world's most important forests.

Experts and activists also warns that the new pledge could become another broken promise unless the deal is backed up by more funds, tougher regulations on companies linked to forest exploitation, as well as increased transparency and monitoring.

Al Jazeera reports on the deal on deforestation as well as the agreement on methane gas emissions in the video above.

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