Written by Vansh Arora

On the 13th November 2021, 197 countries signed a historic Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26. The agreement was a step up from the Paris Agreement, which was the first legally binding commitment to reduce emissions. If each participating country keep their new pledges collectively, we are able to reduce the average global temperature by 0.2C, thus halting global warming in its tracks. 

This year the effects of climate change have been evident globally with rising natural disasters occurring more frequently. From wildfires tearing up communities and nature reserves in California and Australia, heatwaves across Japan, Spain and Pakistan, flooding in Thailand, India and parts of Europe, along with other climate factors like crop growth failure due to droughts and melting ice sheets in the Arctic causing sea levels to rise. 

However this year’s summit was a major step forward for nations and parties to start transitioning into renewable clean energy and start steering away from using coal and fossil fuel. The nations who have committed to phase out their reliance on coal is evidence that we are making the right strides to improve our planet and are heading to a cleaner, sustainable future.

COP26 Goals

As hosts of COP26, the UK had 4 primary goals from the event:

  • Secure Global Net Zero by Mid Century and to keep the 1.5 degree limit within reach. 

The Paris Climate Accord was a starting point to reduce global emissions. With COP26, countries were looking for more concrete action to reduce these emissions further. This is because any rise in temperature above 1.5 degrees can have adverse effects on the planet. 

  • Adapt to Protect Communities and natural habitats

One of the most effective ways to deal with climate change is to protect and restore habitats, this would not only increase green cover, which can effectively reduce carbon emissions, but will also help boost resilience of the local communities to the impact of climate change. 

  • Mobilise Finance

It is essential for countries to raise more money in climate finance to help protect the most vulnerable from the adverse effects of climate change. The goal is that developing countries raise funds totalling to a 100 billion dollars per year, to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change for their population. 

  • For Countries to work together. 

This goal goes to the root of the United Nations and related international organisations. The resolutions are based on consensus and it is essential that the countries work together to achieve climate goals, because international cooperation is the key to achieving global emission goals.

The Agreement

COP26 has produced the first legally binding agreement to phase out coal use. Despite the rejection by two of the largest users of coal power, India and China, it remains an historic feat because it led to a consensus among the participating nations to move to alternative energy sources such as solar energy and hydropower, allowing countries to meet their goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. In addition, by the end of 2022, the signatories agreed to strengthen their 2030 emissions targets in order to ensure that the Global Net Zero targets are met. The countries recognised that it is essential to protect the most vulnerable from the adverse effects of climate change. As a result, the agreement also contains a provision for developed countries to at least double the money they give to developing countries to adapt to climate change. 

What COP26 could mean for the average citizen?

The breakthrough agreement can have some possible effects for citizens. 

  1. Change in sources of energy – The phase down of coal means that there would be a shift to different sources of energy like solar, wind, hydro or even nuclear energy. 
  2. Increase in prices of agricultural products – COP26 called for reform of the agricultural products market in order to combat deforestation and keep climate change under control. This may lead to increase in prices of products like soy and beef. 
  3. Change in Pensions – With the increased focus on raising climate funds, pension funds may shift towards investing in more environmentally friendly areas.

What is Ackroyd Legal doing to help the environment?

Every bit helps. Ackroyd Legal is committed to the goal set out in the Paris and Glasgow agreements of substantially reducing carbon emissions. The best avenue was reduction of office carbon footprint. We have steadily reduced our reliance on paper to conduct internal operations and deal with clients and external agents. Additionally, we have reduced our energy consumption by switching to LED lights, which are only switched on when natural light proves to be insufficient. Additionally, all the technology and appliances in the office are energy star appliances which are kept on power saving mode when not in use, thereby significantly reducing our energy consumption. With covid 19, the option to work remotely also helps us reduce the consumption that is caused by transport.