Impressions from COP26
Professor Regine Hock, Department of Geosciences, UiO was attandee at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scottland. In this short article she give her impressions from this important and exciting conference.
Regine Hock in Glasgow at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference. The conference was this year hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, and it took place from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Photo: Private
My impressions from the COP26 in Glasgow
I attended the second week of the 2-week COP26 conference in Glasgow. Delegates from 197 countries negotiated new pledges to keep global warming to maximum of 1.5 deg C relative to pre-industrial levels, and discussed climate finance and compensation for loss and damages already experienced by poorer countries. Between 25 and 30 000 participants attended the conference.
Climate change and consequences on the cryosphere
I was invited by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) to speak at their Cryosphere Pavilion. The Pavilion ran multiple events every day including scientific presentations and panel discussions to inform COP participants in particular policymakers, COP delegations and the media about the consequences of climate change on the cryosphere (glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice and permafrost) and their implications on sea-level and other societal relevant issues.
Events were well-attended, sometimes by high-level government officials of various countries. I gave 4 talks over 2 days about current and future glacier changes and their implications for people.
Observing plenary sessions with negotiations updates
In addition, I was lucky to be able to attend some of the higher-level plenary sessions, where a certain number of observers were allowed, and updates of the negotiations were given and delegates could bring forward any interventions they had.
It was interesting to witness the engagement, in particular of many low-lying island and developing countries to get their voices heard pleading for tougher pledges to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. As the end of negotiations was coming closer one could feel a growing tension and anxiety in the room about what the final outcome would be.
Overall, it was extremely intense but also very rewarding and exciting to have had the chance to participate.