During November 2021, leaders from around the world will come together to discuss the challenges of climate change and to commit to urgent action. The gathering - COP26 - calls on decision makers to address the immediate priorities of climate change, and work together on commitments and real plans.
COP26 has implications for us all, now and well into the future.
What and where is COP26?
COP26 is a climate conference, bringing together many of the world’s decision-makers to agree on how we can collectively tackle climate change. It begins on 31 October in Glasgow, Scotland and runs for 2 weeks.
In a nutshell:
- “COP'' = “Conference of the Parties”
- “26” = the 26th Annual Conference
- The Parties = members of the main decision-making group for the world’s commitments on climate change - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
At least 100 heads of government will attend COP26, as well as representatives from climate organisations, academia, business and government representatives. In all, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend.
COP26 is where signatories are expected to refine and improve their commitments.
The goals of COP26 are in four main groups:
1. Secure global net zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
With the aim of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, countries are being asked to commit to more ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets.
2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
Countries will need to work together to protect and restore ecosystems, and avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
3. Mobilise finance
At least $100bn in climate finance per year must be provided by developed countries and international financial institutions.
4. Work together to deliver
Countries must commit to working together, including finalising the Paris Rulebook (activating the Paris Agreement).
Why is COP26 important?
COP26 is a chance for world leaders to tackle this global challenge. Many people believe COP26 is the world’s last chance to prevent runaway climate change.
While the negatives of climate change are all too real (we’re all familiar with the realities of increased flooding, storms, wildfires and air pollution) the upsides of collectively tackling climate change are also incredible. Cleaner air, new jobs, restoring nature and accelerating economic growth are all in the playbook.
The outcomes of COP26 also have the potential to affect us all. At Plico, we’re excited about the role we can play in tackling climate change in a very tangible way - enabling everyday Aussies to generate and store their own clean energy source, solar, day or night.
What does COP26 mean to me?
In late October, ahead of COP26, Australia committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This means the amount of carbon dioxide that Australia is removing from the atmosphere will have to be equal to, or more than, the amount it is emitting.
But what does COP26 mean for you?
While climate change as a topic can feel a bit removed, in reality it affects all of us. Things like daily weather, trends in weather over time, air quality, the occurrence of weather events such as storms plus the health of ecosystems and wildlife around us are all directly relevant.
What’s more, economies are impacted by climate change through things like jobs availability, industry growth/ decline and requirements and regulations. And the economy impacts all of us.
So while the outcomes of COP26 might not feel like they affect your life immediately, the world’s response to climate change will certainly touch us all in the very near future.
In addition to Australia’s plan to meet net zero by 2050, as part of the outcomes of COP26 Australia may also adjust its regulations, financial support for industry and focus. Stay tuned to hear more in the coming weeks.
What can I do?
While the heads of government, industry and academia meet on the world stage, there are plenty of things we can do on the ground to combat climate change.
Stay informed about the big climate issues and be prepared to discuss them with friends and family. We tend to place more trust in the info we get from those we love, so don’t underestimate your power within your immediate circles!
Since electricity accounts for one third of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, it presents an enormous opportunity for improvement. Installing solar panels and a battery in your home means you can cut your household’s carbon emissions and have an immediate positive impact. With Plico’s affordable weekly rate (and servicing and maintenance for 10 years), it’s more accessible than ever.
Other ways you can play a role in combating climate change include:
- Focus on energy-efficiency - replace old globes with LEDs, select more efficient settings on your dishwasher and washing machine, dry your clothes outside instead of in the tumble dryer, and switch off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.
- Get smart about cooling and heating - open windows to embrace the breeze in summer (instead of air con), block gaps in windows and doorways in winter, dress for the temperature, and be selective about when you use heating in winter.
- Consider the impact of your diet - focus on locally-produced, low packaging foods, reduce your meat/ dairy consumption, consider growing some of your own food.
- Review your household impact - many of the everyday products and habits of our home have implications for climate change. Consider where you could introduce reusable products in place of single use (for example cleaning cloths, dish brushes, cling wrap) and find a better way to dispose of food waste, by starting a compost bin or taking food scraps and coffee grounds to a local community garden.
- Reconsider your travel - car pool, take public transport, and meet virtually instead of in person where possible.
- Buy pre-loved - rather than purchasing new clothing, appliances, furniture and more, consider second-hand items to reduce emissions associated with production and freight.
There are lots of things we can all do to tackle climate change in our everyday lives. The key is to start small and do your best to stay consistent.
COP26 puts climate change firmly in the spotlight. Not only is it an opportunity for the world to work together against this challenge, it’s a reminder for all of us to think about what we can do every day to play our part in the action against climate change.
For more information on how Plico can help you take action, reduce your power bills and generate and control your own power, day or night, contact us or speak to one of our friendly team members on 1300 175 426.