COP: a few letters with a lot of impact
What is COP21?
The COP, or Conference of Parties, is a meeting where political decisions related to climatic change are hold. Between 30 November and 11 December 2015, at the United Nations 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), a bunch of politicians and global leaders from over 190 countries will gather in Paris to try and agree a global legally binding climate treaty.
Why is it important?
The talks will be about agreeing a plan to keep global warming below 2°C if we are to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change. Some nations are already feeling climatic change impacts even now, at the current level of just under 1°C of warming. There are already people seeking to be official climate refugees; and conflicts exacerbated by climate change and extreme weather caused by climate change are on the increase. The COP’s aim is also to support vulnerable countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change that are happening right now. Some nations think that we should stay within 1.5°C of warming, which is the level of warming we may already be locked into.
Government and people’s role
Countries are already in the midst of implementing commitments through 2020. Now they are turning their attention to preparing their commitments for the post-2020 period through pledges known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are the pledges that countries responsible for over 80% of emissions have made towards emissions reductions in advance of the talks. Overall, things are looking promising but it’s important to remember that each country will be looking for a deal that fits best with its own national issues and planning processes. Also, these aren’t legal commitments, so there will need to be a mechanism that reviews INDCs and one of the aims of COP is to try and get parties to agree a level of legal obligations at Paris.
There also appears to be a buildup of pressure from civil society ahead of the COP, and it’s expected that hundreds of thousands will attend mass climate marches in the days before the COP starts. It’s important for our leaders to know that we want real and tangible action on climate now. That’s why hundreds of thousands of people will be marching for the climate in cities around the world on 29 November.
What can you do?
So, I invite you all to sign a petition to demand our government a 100% renewable future: https://heroesporelclima.org/firmar and to come to the Climate March in Madrid on 29 November: https://secure.avaaz.org/es/event/globalclimatemarch/Marcha_Mundial_por_el_Clima_Madrid