COP26: The climate will not wait

COP26: The climate will not wait

BLOG · By Lucy Bedry TTF FLEGT Communications Executive · 5 May 2021

Climate and environmental issues will not wait for humanity to resolve the current coronavirus pandemic and we cannot afford to not take action now.

Prescribed as the ‘Super Year for the climate’, COVID-19 redefined the year 2020 as the number one political priority. It generated intense focus and cast aside some attention from the greatest existential threat of our time: the climate crisis.

COVID-19 continues to restrict confident planning for the year ahead, and ambiguity around large scale events including the upcoming climate talks, COP26 in November, held in Glasgow. Stakeholders and actors are calling for talks to continue regardless of exterior influences as the world cannot wait and climate change cannot be postponed. 

As countries and economies start to emerge from the deepest financial and economic crisis for decades, recovery should be slow, considered and sustainable. This transformation should follow the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental, balancing the needs of society with the natural world for sustainable development and growth. COP should set the prerequisite for this recovery and post-COVID transformations.

Climate and environmental issues will not wait for humanity to resolve the current coronavirus pandemic and we cannot afford to not take action now. The evidence is there that the climate crisis is exemplifying with extreme weather events more prolific, global temperatures increasing, warming oceans and shrinking ice sheets, sea-level rise and increase greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere.

Similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, our climate system contains tipping points that once triggered will be irreversible and exemplify the climate crisis beyond the control of human impact or mitigation. One example of the domino effect of reaching the ‘tipping point’ is the melting of ice sheets, which reduce the albedo effect and increase the rate of melting further.

Climate discussions specifically around carbon market mechanisms, funding for loss and damage, finance targets and nature-based solutions are expected to take the focus of the upcoming COP26 discussions in November 2021 in Glasgow.

COP26 is the 26th Conference of Parties, responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These annual conferences (postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic) bring together 197 nations and territories to collaborate on climate action.

This year’s COP is crucial to finish the work of COP25. In addition, COP26 will set new long-term goals for ambition and actions; strategise shifting towards a low-carbon, reduced emissions society; and place greater emphasis on governments and societies to rebuild back stronger, more sustainably and better from the pandemic.

Representing the UK timber trade, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), has submitted expressions of interest to partake in a range of events and projects at COP26 in Glasgow. In advance of and due to ambiguous outgoings of the in-person COP26 event in November, the TTF is working with partners to plan alternative events to showcase the role that forest supply chains can play in reducing the impact of climate change.

It is anticipated that some of the conferences will be virtual with plans to make it the “most inclusive ever” – Alok Sharma, COP President. 

“Climate change hasn’t taken time off and climate change hasn’t abated, in fact, last year was the hottest year on record, and I do not sense any desire on the part of countries to delay any further”, Sharma continued. Recognising the global importance of this years COP26, the UK TTF is strategising for activities to withstand ambiguity and intervening plans for full success. Details on the UK TTF COP26 plans to be announced in due course.

The collaboration exhibition, event series and project: Conversations about Climate Change, showcases some of the intangible climate issues caused or exacerbated by climate change through six installations. Join the #ClimateConversations to engage and find out more ahead of the November talks.