COP26 Day Five Summary – 5th November 2021

COP26 Day Five Summary – 5th November 2021

Friday was Youth and Public Empowerment Day at COP26; however it also provided the basis for bringing light to the largest part of our planet and one of the biggest aids to climate change, the oceans. Protecting the life in it and aiding it in recovery. 

The UK has asked world leaders to investigate the health of oceans and take ambitious steps towards aiding the seas in an effort to help reach 1.5oC and maintain net-zero goals. This involved the UK providing £6 million to a world bank known as PROBLUE who funds sustainable ocean projects as well as an additional £1 million on top of the earlier £5 million provided to the Global Fund for Coral Reefs.  

The UK also announced that a minimum of $20 million (~£15m) has been made in commitments to help the ocean and communities that are vulnerable to the changing of the climate. This money will support nature-based solutions to issues and provide more aid for coastal communities who may be at risk of flooding or other disasters that come as a result of climate change.  

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is championing five points, listed here. More on this can also be found here. 

1: Climate action is ocean action. For the health of the ocean, secure global net zero emissions no later than 2050 and keep a rise of no more than 1.5°C within reach. This includes decarbonising the shipping sector and scaling up offshore renewable energy. 

2: The ocean is part of the response to climate change. Protect, restore and sustainably manage key marine habitats and species, including blue carbon habitats, driving marine nature-based solutions that will help us and the ocean to mitigate, adapt and be resilient to climate change as part of the Paris Agreement commitments. 

3: Protect the ocean to address climate change and biodiversity loss together. Commit to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 (30by30), and work towards achieving an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. 

4: Invest in ocean-climate action. Commit to increasing finance for marine nature-based solutions, ocean protection and restoration, throughout the next five years as part of commitments to increasing finance for nature. 

5: Underpin ocean action with transformative ocean science. Collaborate through the unique opportunity offered by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to enhance global ocean observations and deliver accessible data for all. 

However, today was all about empowering the young and the public with Greta Thunberg joining a march throughout the city before addressing a crowd of people at George Square. She announced that COP26 had been a failure, stating that, “We cannot solve climate crisis with the same methods that got us into it,” and that, “The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that.” Greta continued to say that the summit has been a, “two-week long celebration of business as usual,” where world leaders, “create loopholes to benefit themselves,” potentially in reference to non-ambitious net-zero goals such as India’s 2070 goal. 

Others also took to criticising the summit, with children skipping school for the day to march alongside protestors. A 14-year-old stated “Don’t just go for profit. Listen to what the planet needs,” whilst another said, “If there’s something that you love and you want to protect it, then you should do that, don’t think twice about it.” Interviewed by the BBC, an activist known as Anna Brown has said, “The message is that the system of COPs – we’ve had 26 now – isn’t working. So, we need to uproot that system… The message is you need to listen to the people in the streets, the young people, the workers.” She also added, “I think part of it is designed so people don’t understand what it’s about – if people don’t understand what’s being said in negotiations, they can’t criticise what’s happening and the decisions that are being made”.

 

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