With the uncertainty brought by the Coronavirus pandemic, UN Climate Change decided to postpone the Cop26 summit for a year. It was initially scheduled for 9-20 November 2020. Considering the health and safety of Cop26 participants, the committee moved it to 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow, UK.
A news report defined Cop26 as “a key moment for seeking to close the gap between the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and collective action to slash emissions.” It, therefore, signals 2021 to be a transition year for climate action.
Over the past few decades, nations made small steps to reduce emissions that cause global warming; this is not enough. According to a news report, experts estimated that the globe may be hotter by more than 3⁰ Celsius and can result in catastrophic outcomes that cannot be reversed.
This year, the halt in business operations and economic activities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has made remarkable but interim reductions in emission. With the work from home setup, a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles and factories took place. Air quality in certain regions has notably improved.
The pandemic did not only improve air quality in the environment but also impacted the political and macroeconomic conditions of the different countries. According to the IMF, as cited in a news report, “rich countries have already announced over USD 4 trillion in fiscal stimuli to counter the immediate impact of the pandemic and more is to come as countries plan for recovery – the State is back.”
“Covid-19 has reinforced existing policies and regulatory changes, with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China implementing measures during the pandemic in line with a less carbon-intensive pathway.”IHS Markit research
On the contrary, the United States is revoking environmental standards, while Mexico is postponing new wind and solar projects.
The United States may still surge into a leadership position among nations as a presidential candidate, Joe Biden, proposed an investment of US$2 trillion for climate solution plan that is connected to clean energy and jobs. Also, the U.S. will possibly re-enter the Paris Agreement, taking part in the Cop26 with a purposeful contribution, if the Democrats win the upcoming election.
The pandemic could probably be the catalyst for changing systems, technologies, habits, and mindsets that will result in responsible production and consumption patterns. It can fuel cleaner, healthier, and more inclusive outcomes.