top of page
  • Ambika S.

Now is the time to take action!

Now is the time to take action!

By: Ambika Singh (Environment)

Global warming and climate change are the topics that have been in the media headlines lately.

This is due to the recent COP 26 conference which was held in Glasgow during the weeks of October 31 - November 12, 2021. The meeting was first scheduled to be in 2020 but could not occur due to Covid-19. According to the “World leaders arrived in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.”


History of COP

For the past three decades, the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country for global climate summits called COPs which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties. It started when 196 countries, including the UK and the EU, met and agreed upon a treaty. The main objective of the treaty was to stabilize the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The first Conference of the Parties took place in Berlin, Germany in 1995. This year’s meeting is the 26th - which gives it the name COP26. As shown in the image, over the course of time, the effect of climate change has gone from “being a small issue to a global primacy.” Next, we will discuss a little bit about COP21.


A little bit about the significance of the Paris agreement in 2015

COP21 took place in Paris in 2015.

For the first time, something significant happened in Paris: During the climate summit, the Paris agreement took shape, many countries agreed to work together to limit global warming temperature below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees. The commitment to aim for 1.5 degrees is necessary because every fraction increase will eventually result in many lives lost and livelihoods damaged.

The follow-up to this year’s climate summit in Glasgow is where the countries update their plans for reducing emissions. However, the promises laid out in Paris may not seem to be getting fulfilled, and the window for achieving this is closing fast.

What did they discuss during the COP26 meeting? Any promises?

Agreements made in COP26 summit:

  • Recognizing the emergency - Countries declared that the Paris agreement deals with keeping the global temperature change below 2 degrees. There was a consensus and agreement on the threat that this temperature change is posing to humankind.

  • Accelerating action - All the countries stressed the urgency to take action “in this critical decade,” when carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 45% to reach net-zero around mid-century.

  • Moving away from fossil fuels - Countries agreed to a provision calling for a phase-down of coal power and a phase-out of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

  • Delivering on climate finance - Developed countries reassured the promise to deliver $100 billion a year to help developing countries manage climate change.

  • Completing the Paris rulebook - Countries reached an agreement on the remaining issues of the so-called Paris rulebook, the operational details for the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement.

  • Focusing on loss & damage - Countries agreed to strengthen a network, known as Santiago Network – that connects vulnerable countries with people of technical assistance, knowledge and resources to address climate risks.

There were some new key announcements made at COP26 for finance, trees, coal, methane, and transport.

Finance: Financial organizations agreed to implement renewable energy and direct finance away from fossil fuel-burning industries. The initiative is an attempt to involve private companies in meeting net-zero targets.

Trees: Over 100 nations, including Canada, Brazil, Russia, China, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the US and the UK, signed up for a pledge to end world deforestation by 2030. The pledge includes almost £14bn ($19.2bn) of public and private funds.

Coal: Over 40 nations promised to phase-out coal use within the 2030s. This includes coal-dependent nations such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile. However, some of the world’s largest coal-consuming countries, such as China, the US, and India, did not sign up for the promise.

Methane: Over 30 countries agreed to cut methane emissions by 30%. However, the world’s greatest emitters of methane, China, the US and India were out from this pledge.

Transport: Over 100 national governments, cities, states and major businesses signed a declaration on accelerating the transition to 100% zero-emission cars and vans. With all sales of new cars and vans being zero-emission globally by 2040.

Why does it matter to us?

This issue matters to us because in the near future if we don’t keep our promise, the natural phenomena on Earth may have a disastrous effect on us and changing weather patterns would make it difficult to survive in certain habitats.

The main threshold of CO2 gas which Earth can sustain is around 450 parts per million (ppm). If we exceed this threshold it is considered by scientists to be dangerous and life-threatening for all of us. As shown below, currently we are near the threshold of around 414 ppm.


In this image below, the rule to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change would be to follow all the guidelines on the left side - ambition, reduce the emissions altogether and get the required financing from rich nations so that we can potentially decrease the temperature of our Earth and increase climate adaptation.


This is a video that briefly explains the conclusions which were made in COP26:

It is worth a watch!

What can we all do together?

To get a sense of how much we consume and how it adds to our carbon footprint BBC has prepared a great carbon footprint calculator which tells us about the food we consume and how we all are increasing the carbon footprint day by day.

Here is the link to the calculator:

Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?

You need to pick a food item out of the 34 common items on the calculator and also choose how often you have that item. According to the BBC, “switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change.”


As we can see in this image, almost half of the total greenhouse emissions solely come from beef and lamb but more generally the animal products.

And I know what you might think “This is common knowledge we know about this already...” But it is time that we take action on this sooner or later. Also, meat and dairy are not the only foods leading to high greenhouse emissions. Chocolate and coffee originating from deforested rainforests produce relatively high greenhouse gases too.

Joseph Poore, a study researcher, says, "What we eat is one of the most powerful drivers behind most of the world's major environmental issues, whether it's climate change or biodiversity loss."

Poore also said, "It reduces the amount of land required to produce your food by about 75% - that's a huge reduction, particularly if you scale that up globally."


We must act now or else it will be too late. We all face a major challenge ahead of us and we must deal with it together when all the people on this planet are in agreement.


COP26: A brief history of climate COP – SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

COP26 – What's on the Agenda? – SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

What is a COP? - UN Climate Change Conference

COP26 Goals - UN Climate Change Conference

COP26: What was agreed at the Glasgow climate conference?

What is climate change? A really simple guide

Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page