Is 90 minutes enough? The big questions COP26 will attempt to answer in a short timeframe

Energy & Climate Change

The full presidency programme for COP26 has been announced, and a scan of planned events covering areas including finance, energy, nature and land-use and adaptation loss and damage, has revealed that the UK and world leaders will attempt to answer some big climate questions within relatively short timeframes. We outline some of them below.

Responding to the IPCC report: keeping 1.5°C alive

In a 75-minute (13:30-14:45) session on November 9th representatives from Parties, Observers and Non-State Actors will come together to respond to the IPCC Working Group I Contribution to the 6th Assessment Report as part of a headline event for Science & Innovation Day. Coming in at nearly 4,000 pages the report's findings are hard enough to chew over in the above period of time, read our take on the report here, let alone adequately respond to. However, it's been a few months since the report's publication and there have been numerous debates, analysis and cheat sheets during that time, so they'll have been plenty of time to prepare a response in advance.

What would a climate resilient future look like?

On November 8th during the Building a Climate Resilient Future session the UK will attempt to answer the above question with the clock ticking on 90 minutes (16:00-17:30). Attendees will be taken on a 'global tour of how countries and communities are rising to the challenge of climate change', before experts reveal how we can build this success 'into multipliers of change'. The need for international collaboration is one of the key tenets of COP, and this event hits squarely on that theme.

Consigning coal to history

Yes you read the above event title right. Another headline event, this time opening Energy Day on November 4th. From 09.30-11 global ministers and non-state actors will come together to reveal their progress on the clean energy transition as well as asking how they can work together to 'deliver a just and inclusive energy transition'. It will be interesting to see how much of the UK government's new Net Zero Strategy feeds into the debate and whether they'll be any big announcements relating to fossil fuel divestment, new renewable energy sources and more.

The above events of course can't be taken in isolation and will build on many others that weave in the same or similar themes, as well as plenty of off timetable conversations. However, while the proverb best laid plans may spring to mind in terms of how successful these events will be given their time constraints, and everyone attending will have a different measure of what success looks like, hope springs eternal about what this COP and others can achieve. Even if the latter means starting the conversation, rather than concluding it.

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