COP26 imperative for addressing global climate emergency – UN Climate Change head declares at opening

The 26th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) Sunday opened with a call on delegates to urgently consider the requisite actions to deal with the climate emergency facing the world.

“We are on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7C, while we should be heading for the 1.5C goal,” Madam Patricia Espinosa, United Nations Climate Change Executive Secretary, told the delegates in the Scottish City of Glasgow.

“Clearly, we are in a climate emergency. Clearly, we need to address it. Clearly, we need to support the most vulnerable to cope,” she emphasised.

The conference, being attended by more than 30,000 delegates and some125 heads of states, is being held amidst the strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

They are among other tasks, expected to commit resources to solve the problems causing global warming and promote the creation of good green jobs, for cheaper, cleaner power.

Madam Espinosa, explained that the devastating loss of lives and livelihoods in the course of the year due to extreme weather events “clarifies how important it is to convene COP26 despite the impacts of the pandemic still being felt”.

Delegates are, however, mandated to take a coronavirus lateral flow test everyday of the two-week meeting and show the results to security personnel before allowed to enter the main event centre.

The organisation of the annual events was called off in the heat of the pandemic in the year 2020.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is leading Ghana’s delegation to the conference would Monday deliver a statement on the country’s position on climate change, with the measures put in place to combat the threat it poses to the West African nation.

The President would also deliver separate messages on the country’s efforts at protecting its forests and ocean and also participate in the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Summit being held on the sidelines of COP26.

The COP President, Mr Alok Sharma, thanked delegates for travelling to Glasgow as he outlined the urgent need for action.

“As COP President, I am committed to promoting transparency and inclusivity. And I will lead this conference in accordance with the draft rules of procedure, and with the utmost respect for the party-driven nature of our process,” he said.

“In that spirit, I believe we can resolve the outstanding issues. We can move the negotiations forward. We can launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition and action.

“Together, we can seize the enormous opportunities for green growth, for good green jobs, for cheaper, cleaner power. But we must hit the ground running to develop the solutions we need. And that work starts today. We will succeed, or fail, as one.”

Highlights of the COP, include a World Leaders’ Summit, expected to be attended by Royal delegates and more than 100 Heads of State and Government.

Ghanaian negotiators and experts from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), headed by Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, its Executive Director, and some officials of the Ministries of Environment, Energy, Lands and Natural Resources are attending the conference.

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