COP26 Climate Conference and its Importance


    In Context

    • The UK is going to host the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference from October 31 to November 12.
      • The year 2021 marks the 26th Conference of Parties and will be held in the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.

    Formation of COP

    • About:
      • The Conference of Parties comes under the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) which was formed in 1994. 
      • The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”
      • The UNFCCC has 198 parties including India, China and the USA. COP members have been meeting every year since 1995.
    • List of responsibilities for the member states:
    • Formulating measures to mitigate climate change
    • Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change
    • Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change

    COP1 to COP25: An overview

    • COP1
      • The first conference was held in 1995 in Berlin.
    • COP3
      • Held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, wherein the famous Kyoto Protocol (w.e.f. 2005) was adopted
        • Under this, member states pursue limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
    • COP8
      • India hosted the eighth COP in 2002 in New Delhi.
        • It laid out measures including, strengthening of technology transfer in all relevant sectors, including energy, transport and R&D,  and the strengthening of institutions for sustainable development
    • COP21
      • It happened in 2015, in Paris, France. 
        • Member countries agreed to work together to ‘limit global warming to well below 2, preferably at 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.’


    • It is a pivotal movement for the world to come together and accelerate the climate action plan after the COVID pandemic.

    Four goals of COP26

    • Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
    • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats.
    • Mobilise finance: 
      • To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year
    • ‘Finalise the Paris Rulebook’:
      • Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.

    Steps India should take to reach its targets

    • Sector Wise effective planning:
      • We need to decarbonise the electricity, transport sector and start looking at carbon per passenger mile.
    • Update NDCs: 
      • It is time for India to update its Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. (NDCs detail the various efforts taken by each country to reduce the national emissions)
    • Focus on sustainable energy sources:
      • Transitioning our coal sector to renewable and sustainable energy sources.
    • Robust legal framework:
      • India also needs to amp up the legal and institutional framework of climate change.


    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)- Key Points

    • The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development is also known by other names like the Earth Summit, the Rio Summit, or the Rio Conference.
    • Two other outcomes of the Rio Conference were 
      • Convention on Biological Diversity and 
      • the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
    • About UNFCCC:
      • It is a multilateral treaty governing actions to combat climate change through adaptation and mitigation efforts directed at control of emission of GreenHouse Gases (GHGs) that cause global warming.
      • It is considered the parent treaty of both the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris Agreement (2015).
    • UNFCCC entered into force on 21st March 1994 and has been ratified by 197 countries.
    • India ratified the UNFCCC in 1993.
    • Nodal Agency in India
      • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) acts as the nodal agency for UNFCCC in India.