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GOALS SET OUT IN PREPARATION FOR COP26

 
The key issue which concerns global warming is Green House emissions. In order to combat these emissions COP26 will be asking its participants to look for ambitious ways in which they will be able to reduce their emissions by 2030 so that by 2050 they will have “net” zero emissions. This means on balance they will not be adding green-house emissions into the atmosphere.
 
What are greenhouse emissions? Greenhouse gas emissions are greenhouse gases which enter into the Earth's atmosphere because of human activity. Approximately 50 billion tons enter the atmosphere each year. The largest greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, which comes from burning fossil fuelscoaloil, and natural gas.
 
Some of the main ways forwarded in preparation for COP26 is to:
  • accelerate the phase-out of coal: Coal is used in still used in many parts of the world, including in China, to generate electricity. It is still extensively used, for example, to manufacture steel and aluminium.
  • curtail deforestation: Forests absorb CO2 emissions. Huge parts of rain forests in different parts of our world, including the Amazon, have been destroyed. This has had a massive effect on the eco-system: plant and animal life; and the lives of people native to these parts of the world. It has also had and continues to have, a major contribution to global warming
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles: Vehicles powered by diesel and petrol pollute our atmosphere and are major contributors to global warming. Vehicles include cars, buses, lorries, as well as ships and planes.
  • encourage investment in renewables. In order to move away from being dependent on fossil fuels to produce our electricity; to heat furnaces to produce our steel and other metals; to propel our vehicles we need to invest in providing renewable sources of power. These include wind farms, hydroelectricity, battery power and wave power. COP26 wants to see its participants commit to a greater investment in producing such a large scale as to make the use of fossil fuels unnecessary.
Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
We are already seeing the effects of climate change: We have seen in parts of the world higher temperatures than ever recorded before. We have had devasting storms, flooding and forest fires. In preparation for COP26, it is recognised that the participants must work together to help countries already affected by climate change to:
  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives]
 
This is expensive to do and for many poorer, developing countries it will not be possible without significant help from the richer developed countries, such as our own.
Therefore, it is proposed that developed countries must make good on their commitment to provide at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. It is also proposed that International financial institutions must work together to make available trillions of dollars in private and public sector finance necessary to secure global net zero by 2050.
 
Without international cooperation the first three goals set out for COP26 cannot be achieved and so the fourth goal is:
  • To finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • And to accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
Pope Francis: Laudato Sí
 
In his Teaching in Laudato Sí Pope Francis refers to the problems of Global warming. For example, he says:
 
26. Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. However, many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worsen if we continue with current models of production and consumption. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies. Some countries have made considerable progress, although it is far from constituting a significant proportion. Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread.”
 
Reflection:
 The goals hope to be achieved by the participants at COP26 are ambitious. They cannot simply be achieved through good intentions. They require a way of looking at the earth and all that it contains rooted in love and respect.
 
Jesus commands us; “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There are no commandments greater than these.”  (Mark 12: 29-31)
 
If we truly love God we will love and respect all that he has created. If we truly love our neighbour we will love and respect the world he inhabits.
 
What do we do in our relationship to our world that shows that we truly love God and our neighbour? What do we need to change and we prepare to welcome the Participants of COP26 to Glasgow?

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