Inside COP26: snippets of conversation on commuting trips are a real learning curve

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Clara Felberbauer, a postgraduate student at UCC, is from the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Center at the School of Chemistry. Vera O’Riordan is a PhD candidate in the UCC Energy Policy and Modeling Group and works with the UCC Environmental Institute and the Energy, Climate and Sea Research Center.

Clara and Vera went to COP26 as part of the UCC delegation.

Together they write a daily brief for Independent.ie.

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As COP26 approaches on Friday morning, the train is already busy at 7.15am.

There is turmoil in the air and a feeling of expectation. Those present at the delegation on Friday morning received an email apologizing for the upcoming traffic delays – because hundreds and thousands of young people, fearing for their future, were protesting.

A protest was planned in the Inner Blue area of ​​the conference, along with a massive rally in the nearby city center, supported by protests in cities around the world.

There was an elderly gentleman who spoke well and a brightly colored young girl in her twenties in the seat across from me, and I sat at an awkward and perhaps obvious angle to listen to their conversation.

Train and bus rides to and from the conference are an amazing place for chance encounters with very interesting people from all over the world. These two are climate organizers and activists.

He talks about activism for social justice.

“It’s about human solidarity, where we do things for each other. Human beings, if left on their own, can be kind enough to each other,” he said. declared.

The conference venue was busy as always – delegates and observers scurried around the place, although it’s a bit quieter since world leaders and their immense amount of security personnel have left.

Negotiations to “keep 1.5 degrees alive” – ​​to collectively limit the nation’s emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – are still ongoing. The number was defined as the low-emission scenario by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which compiles the science.

With the measures decided so far at COP26 – the global commitment on methane, which aims to reduce global methane reductions by 30% by 2030, the commitment against deforestation, as well as the elimination progressive coal by some countries (notably missing the biggest emitters of China, India, United States and Australia) – global warming could be limited to 1.8 degrees.

Still, there is still work to be done to reach the magic number of 1.5.

The second main objective of COP26 is to raise US $ 1 billion per year in climate finance for repairs, mitigation and adaptation, paid for by high-emission rich countries.

I had another conversation on the train on my way home, this time with a ministerial adviser from the delegation in Honduras. He tells us that the money this country receives is spent on repairs more than on mitigation.

He also criticizes the emphasis on money in this approach.

Focus on the action, not the money, he says, and suggests involving communities more.

For this to be successful, we will need both political and community action.


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