The Paris Agreement was drafted between November 20 and December 15, 2015, with 195 countries initially putting their name to it on April 22 the same year. It finally came into force on November 4, 2016.
A rearranged COP25 in 2019 hosted in Spain under the Presidency of Chile failed to achieve any significant progress other than a declaration of intent.
Countries had agreed to revisit or enhance their climate plans by 2020 but this conference in Scotland was postponed because of the global coronavirus pandemic,
Instead in 2020, the day after the Presidential Elections on November 4, the US made good a decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement altogether in a controversial move ordered by President Donald Trump on June 1, 2017.
The hope now is that a President elect in Joe Biden will not only reverse that decision but ensure the US will devote its resources and influence to help lead the world to a concerted effort to tackle the climate emergency.
It sets the stage for the rescheduled COP26 in Glasgow from November 1 to November 12, 2021, becoming the most significant in recent times.
And the possibility that like in Paris a new accord aligned with action on the climate emergency can be agreed.
Calls for action on tackling climate change tends to focus on the active – commuting, how we travel, what cars we use, what carbon footprint we leave.
But what type of homes we live in and whether they help or hinder our efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions receive much less attention and debate.
That is why COP26 must devote as much time as possible to finding innovative solutions that will address this climate ‘elephant in the room’.
I am joint managing director of Newton Property Management, headquartered in Glasgow, and one of Scotland’s biggest factors with further offices in Aberdeen and Inverness. We provide factoring services to more than 25,000 properties nationwide.
The issue of climate change and how to make our homes more environmentally sustainable has long been on Newton’s agenda. Last year we launched our 2020 Green Vision, leading the charge to see Scotland embrace a more sustainable environmentally-friendly future.
It was an industry first, and was born from the fact that we at Newton want to see our customers’ homes fully fitted out in a way that makes a big contribution to meeting Scotland’s net-zero carbon targets.
That means embracing solar power, future-proofing properties, providing plenty of charging points for electric vehicles, even planting indigenous trees and shrubs in and around developments.
For example, Scotland is set to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2032 – with only battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles allowed.
So Newton has and continues to install electric vehicle charging points at our customers’ developments, co-funding tree planting, and introducing other green initiatives which our customers would like to adopt.
We are proud of our 2020 Green Vision – and it’s certainly been noticed. We were proud winners of The Herald Scotland ‘Green Family Business of the Year’ Award in 2019 and also finalists in the Homes for Scotland Awards this year.
But we are conscious a lot more needs to be done. So Newton is hoping to see clear, decisive action at COP26, encouraging property managers like us to do even more.
Whether it is better insulation, more access to renewable sources of energy provision, access to smarter technology in the homes – we want dynamic, innovative solutions to encourage us to be more progressive and productive and do our bit for our country and planet.
So over to you COP26. We’re ready to listen and willing to learn.
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference – also known as COP26 – takes place between November 1 and November 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.
It has been delayed from its scheduled date of November 9 – 19, 2020, because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The eyes of the globe will be upon them in the hope that, as with the Paris Agreement, that they can strike an accord to accelerate action and work together to overcome the greatest challenge the planet has ever faced.
If this can be done, it would become The Glasgow Agreement.
COP 26 GLASGOW PRESIDENCY
The Presidency of Cop 26 is currently held by the UK Government but it is being co-hosted with Italy.
Alok Sharma , the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will act as President for the conference.
On being appointed he said: “It is a great honour to take on the role of COP26 President.
“I have started working with my new team ahead of the summit in Glasgow (this November) where we aim to speed up the global journey to net zero carbon.
“We will be building on efforts to urge all countries to bring forward ambitious plans to curb their emissions ahead of the event itself.
“It is vital everyone comes together to deliver the change needed to tackle climate change and protect our planet.”
Alok Sharma, President, COP26
However his leadership sparked some early controversy when it was revealed his top team would contain no women in it.
That announcement came after a row was sparked when the former head of the summit Claire O’Neill was dismissed from the role.
She later claimed that the UK Prime Minister Biros Johnson ‘didn’t get’ climate change and that the nation was ‘miles off’ target.
SCOTLAND’S ROLE AT COP 26
Preparations for the event got off to a further rocky start when it was claimed the UK Government wanted to move the conference from Glasgow to a venue in England in what was dubbed a turf war over who would host the event.
It included a row over the Scottish Government booking out the SEC campus in Glasgow before the UK government who had wanted to use it themselves.
Ministers and officials on bother sides of the border worked to diffuse the differences which had threatened to overshadow the planned focus.
Political observers wait to see what role – if any – the UK government may ask Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to play.
The conference will take place after the forthcoming summer Scottish Parliamentary Elections which could further ignite calls for Scottish independence, potentially putting further strain on Westminster and Holyrood relations.
But since then both governments have stressed their commitments to both the event and tackling the climate emergency, raising hopes that their could be some breakthrough collaborations.
WHAT WILL BE DISCUSSED AT COP 26 IN GLASGOW
All those signatories to the Paris Agreement had agreed to further review and enhance their climate commitments by 2020.
This will be the first major opportunity to scrutinise those commitments after the planned date for COP26 was postponed by a year to 2021 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Talks will include reducing harmful greenhouse gas emission with a focus on things such as energy, pollution and agriculture.
Mitigating climate through mass tree planting, peatland restorations, architecture, transitioning form oil and gas and electric transport will feature.
Food security and production will also be high on the agenda along with how to protect island nations from rising sea levels.