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What happened at COP26?

The 2021 United Nations Climate Conference is taking place in Glasgow right now. World leaders have come together to discuss and accelerate action towards tackling climate change. The objectives of COP26 are for countries to put forward their targets for reducing emissions over the next decade and secure global net zero by 2050.  

Ozford is consistently seeking ways that we can contribute to tackling climate change and how we can help promote it here in Australia.  

The conference kicked off on October 31st and is due to end on 12th November.  

What has been agreed on and where does Australia stand in all of this? Here is what you need to know:  

  1. Economy giants The United States and China have agreed to raise their climate ambition and work to cut their emissions before 2030. With these two countries being the highest emitters of global greenhouse gases, it is a welcomed agreement that we hope will be met.  
  1. The UN released a draft which urged countries to phase out their use of coal and stop subsidising gas and oil, however, there are no definite timelines to secure this phase out. Developing countries are arguing they lack the financial resources to shift away from these fossil fuels and that they are not receiving adequate aid from rich countries.  
  1. Major automakers such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volvo have pledged to phase out sales of of new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 globally and by 2035 in leading markets. Automakers like Toyota, Volkswagen and Nissan-Renault did not join the pledge and United States, China and Japan whom are three of the largest car markets also withdrew. 
  1. Climate activist, Greta Thunberg called on nations to declare climate change a state of emergency. She continues her efforts to call out world leaders and their lack of urgency in their response to this disaster.  
  1. Australia has copped criticism amongst COP26 attendees, with the Morrison government’s policy response to the climate crisis being ranked last in an assessment of 60 countries. Australia’s lack of policies and weak targets demonstrate they’re out of touch with reality and have their head in the sand. Australia has refused to sign a pledge to cut emissions and dismissed the phase out of coal to improve the 2030 targets. 

If we can’t secure net zero by 2050 nor keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees, a chain reaction of cataclysmic events is expected to trigger with increased bushfires, mass flooding and other devastating natural disasters which will destroy homes and kill people.  

Are our world leaders doing enough?  

Pete Buttigieg, the US transportation secretary stated at the COP26 that we need to retire the phrase “save the planet” as what we are really doing is trying to save our lives. “The planet will be orbiting the sun long after we are gone…the planet does not need us. We’re the ones who need the planet.” 

We encourage our students to promote and stand for change when it comes to climate change. Studying in this beautiful country down under, we want to ensure that we maintain this unique land and that we can continue to offer students a safe and secure life here in Australia.  

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