COP 26 Overview and Opening Session

COP 26 — Get ready for COP26 with the conference overview and summary report from the Opening Sessions, complete with background information provided to set the stage. 
Welcome to the A&WMA COP 26 Blog!
Mike DeBusschere, P.E. Reporting
A&WMA Observer Delegate to the UNCCC Conference of the Parties 26, Glasgow, Scotland

I am pleased to be again one of your delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties.
This time I will be observing from my Louisville, Kentucky office via the COP26 video cam platform the first week of the conference. Brian Bunger of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will be reporting from the second week. I have provided some basic GHG information:

A summary of the Paris Agreement upon which global climate change programs will be measured

Valuable GHG emission inventory tracking site run by the EU, with two examples of the data parsing they provide


Atmospheric half-lives of the most prevalent GHGs – pretty shocking actually 
From the Iowa State University
Climate Change Course Greenhouse Gas Lifetimes in the Atmosphere

The insidious characteristic of most greenhouse gases is that they have long lifetimes in the atmosphere, as measured by their "half life" (the time for half of an initial amount released to be removed from the atmosphere by natural processes). Carbon dioxide has a half life of about 120 years, methane 10.5 years, nitrous oxide 132 years, and the CFCs 16 to more than 500 years, as shown in the accompanying table. So, for instance, of the 20,000 kg of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere in 2004, 10,000 kg will still be contributing to enhanced greenhouse warming in the year 2124, 5,000 kg will be remaining in 2244, 2,500 kg in 2361, ..., 1 kg in the year 3684. At least 1 kg of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere this past year will contribute to enhanced greenhouse warming for the next 1,680 years!

List of the Paris Agreement derived Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) categories all nations are to use to develop their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the commitments and schedule for reducing GHGs by each country. See the website for the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for more information. 

The next two weeks at COP 26 aim to achieve the following goals:
  1. Secure global net-zero by the middle of the century
  2. Adapt to protect our communities and natural habitats
  3. Mobilize $100bn in climate finance per year
  4. Work together to meet the challenges of the climate crisis
I hope you will follow this blog to join Brian and me for this important event!

Opening Plenary Sessions Sunday, October 31, 2021
After opening 2 hours later than scheduled the outgoing COP President (Chile) made a short introductory speech. She was followed by the Glasgow City Councilwoman Chair, the COP25 Chair (Spain) and the UNFCCC Chair (Italy). The COP26 President was elected, and he introduced the UN General Assembly President Antonio Guterres, making some definite strong statements such as “Facing an existential crisis, we're not doing enough and have still failed to act with the determination required”, and “I've heard most about climate change in my presidency from every world leader and it is the most discussed topis of my term”. He also stated there has been over $100 trillion pledged so far for implementation and mitigation. Sir David Attenborough presented a moving lecture with video on the effects of climate change from the last year. 
A brief presentation by the IPCC Report Chair Mr. Lee was given where he stated the report was a “sobering read”, that climate changes are widespread, readily apparent in every region, are more frequent and severe and that the 1.5C and 2.0C goals will be exceeded unless “massive reductions are achieved in the near future”.  Rules of procedure were adopted.
  • Bolivia called for action to fund immediate reductions to meet the 1.5C goal, identification of practical measures to be implemented immediately, and noted GHGs were over 60% above what was required in 2020, 16.3% higher than in 2010.
  • Venezuela, speaking for the ALBA organization, called for external elements impacting upon the Paris Agreement to be identified and stopped. She also called for unilateral coercive actions as a COP26 agenda item.
  • Ukraine wanted assurances Item 4 of the agenda would be deferred again and wanted the Chair to commit to take action on that item. He was joined later by the Solomon Islands asking for the same thing. Admission of listed IGOs and NGOs (e,g, A&WMA) was approved without modification. Future COP locations were approved – COP27 will be in Egypt, COP28 in the Asia-Pacific Region and COP 29 in Eastern Europe. COP30 is yet to be decided.  
  • A discussion about putting Clean Development Mechanisms on the agenda ensued and it was decided to discuss CDMs in the context of Paris Agreement Article 6 would be done Wednesday November 3. (See related news clip from the Climate Change News regarding the need for CDM emission trading not to expire because of the Paris Agreement).  
  • Subsidiary Party agendas for CMA (parties to the Kyoto agreement) and CMP (parties to the Paris Agreement) were modified and adopted.
About the Author. Mike DeBusschere, P.E. was President of A&WMA from June 2000 through December 2001. Before being elected President, he served as Section Council Chair and in several Board and leadership positions. He is a licensed chemical engineer and is President of Kentuckiana Engineering Company, an environmental consulting firm in Louisville, Kentucky since 1996. Before entering private practice, he was Acting Air Branch Chief of Region IV EPA, and led EHS regional programs at Camp Dresser & McKee, ERM and TRC. DeBusschere is an A&WMA Fellow


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