Photo: Ian Forsyth / Getty Images
The COP26 climate summit opened its formal sessions this Sunday in the Scottish city of Glasgow (United Kingdom), which will launch momentous negotiations to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC.
“It gives me great pleasure to declare open the 26 session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” said Carolina Schmidt, president of COP25, from Chile, at the time of handing over the presidency the British Alok Sharma.
The summit meets from today until November 12Although it will be tomorrow, Monday, when more than 120 world leaders meet to give the political momentum to the event.
As soon as the conference was declared open, Schmidt asked for a minute of silence for those who died from the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the celebration of COP26 to be postponed for a year.
And almost at the same time that the summit opened in Glasgow, the news came from Rome that the leaders of the G20 have agreed to keep the global warming ceiling at 1.5 degrees and take action to do so, which is precisely the great challenge of COP26.
In her speech, the outgoing president addressed the heads of that group of countries to urge them to “comply with the signed agreements“.
“We know that facing climate change requires a transversal transformation of our development,” said Schmidt in his speech to the delegates who will represent their countries in the British city.
“We cannot rewrite the Paris Agreement, we have to comply with it,” added the Chilean, referring to the historic pact signed in 2015 by which nations pledged to keep the global temperature increase in this century below 2 degrees. Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and continue efforts to further limit that increase to 1.5ºC.
For his part the new president of the COP26 climate summit, Alok Sharma, assured that this meeting is the “last great hope” to maintain the goal of maintaining global warming at 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.
“Our beloved planet is changing for the worse”, admitted the British Sharma at the opening of the conference, which will be held in the Scottish city of Glasgow until 12 November, but at the same time stressed that humanity knows what it has to do to avoid it.
Sharma was hopeful that the negotiations opening today, before 120 world leaders gather in Glasgow on Monday to give political momentum to the talks, could resolve outstanding issues and close with a climate change deal.
“If we act now and act together, we can protect our beloved planet. So let’s get together these two weeks and make sure that what Paris promised is achieved by Glasgow ”, said the former Conservative minister of the British Government.
He recalled that the covid-19 pandemic forced the celebration of COP26 to be postponed by one year, “but during that year climate change did not take a vacation.”
Sharma alluded to the latest IPCC report, which last August confirmed that climate change is “undoubtedly” caused by human activity and pointed out that the study, signed by 195 governments, has set off alarms and evidence that “the window is closing ”.
“In each of our countries, we are seeing the devastating impact of climate change,” he said, and exemplified it in the floods, droughts or extreme temperatures registered this year in different parts of the world. And he especially thanked the delegates for their “efforts” to reach the UK “despite the pandemic.”
The opening session of the summit will mark the beginning of closed-door negotiations, which will take place over two weeks in parallel with hundreds of events and announcements on initiatives aimed at combating climate change and safeguarding nature.
With information from Efe.
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