The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 1 – 12 November 2021.
The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Quakers and COP26
The Quakers in Scotland Parliamentary Engagement Working Group (PEWG) and the Parliamentary Engagement Officer (PEO) have the Climate Emergency as one of their priorities.
We are guided by our testimonies and our belief that “We do not own the World and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will” (Advices & Queries 42). We believe we have responsibilities for all that we have been given and all we have taken from Mother Earth. In the face of overwhelming evidence of rapidly increasing destruction of the Earth we are called to work for a World that prioritises ecological repair and wellbeing. We can all make a contribution but without government intervention it will never be enough. While we welcome progress that has been made, including the Climate Change Act 2019, the picture remains challenging, particularly over the next decade.
In our approach to COP 26 and the issues which will arise as Quakers we are particularly concerned about:
Carbon markets and mechanisms, which push the problem of emissions on to other countries rather than facing our responsibilities.
Funding for loss and damage: Recognising our moral obligations to the global south by: championing the rights of those in marginalised countries already affected by climate change, ensuring they have a strong voice at COP26 and beyond; paying our fair share towards the global crisis; and accepting our moral duty to give sanctuary to refugees escaping from countries suffering the effects of climate change.
Nature-based solutions: Approaches which recognise the deep connection between the Earth and the Spirit by opposing frameworks that position land, water and oceans primarily as assets for human exploitation and supporting moves that give a voice and rights to the natural world.
Quakers in Scotland is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition and members of the PEWG attend their meetings and participate in the actions and events they are creating ahead of COP26.
Britain Yearly Meeting (Quakers in Britain) and staff at Friends House are also working on actions and events ahead of the COP.
The official negotiations take place over two weeks. The first week is primarily technical negotiations by government officials. The second week is dominated by the high level Ministerial and Heads of State meetings. The most challenging issues of the negotiations go to the Ministers to make the final negotiated decisions.
There are several technical issues to be finalised at COP26, including some difficult sticking points which were carried over from COP26 in Madrid in 2019. Issues which will be brought to COP26 include:
Carbon market mechanisms, which would allow countries to purchase carbon credits (reductions) from another country to allow the purchasing country to continue to emit within its borders. There are very diverse views from Parties on the extent and rules for these markets.
Funding for Loss and damage: While Loss and damage is a core part of the Paris Agreement there is no mechanism as yet within the UNFCCC to fund responses when vulnerable countries experience loss and damage.
The $100 bn finance target will be discussed, and will be a critical factor for less developed countries. Additionally, COP26 is likely to set the next target for climate finance to be achieved by 2025.
“Nature-based solutions" (NBS) will be increasingly important. That is how nature (forests, agriculture and ecosystems) can become a climate solution for absorbing carbon and for protecting against climate impacts. COP26 will start to discuss how to integrate NBS into the Paris implementation strategy.