COP26 UPSC: Climate Change Conference at Glasgow, Goals, Objectives, India’s Panchamrit

By K Balaji|Updated : November 28th, 2022

COP26 was the 26th session of the conference of the member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP is the abbreviation for ‘Conference of Parties’, which refers to gathering the members of any particular institution for a specific purpose. COP26 Glasgow was held to accelerate progress toward the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) goals. COP26 was held in Glasgow, the UK, from 31 October- 12 November 2021.

COP26 is important for UPSC Prelims, mains as well as Essay papers. The topic is covered under the International Treaties & Agreements mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus.

Table of Content

What is COP26?

COP 26, or the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties, is the assembly held by the UNFCCC. Originally, this session was scheduled to be held from November 9th, 2020 to November 19th, 2020 but was rescheduled between October 31st, 2021, and October 12th, 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COP26 was held in Glasgow, with the United Kingdom presiding over the conference. COP26 is significant because it informed member countries about the alarming situation of the Earth's rising temperature and the risks associated with this rise.

  • COP26, or Conference of Parties, is held by the UNFCCC, an entity of the United Nations that came into effect on March 21st, 1994. Ever since its creation, the UNFCCC has been tirelessly working on preventing the excessive involvement of human interference in the environment and nature.
  • The focus of COP26 Glasgow has been to draw the attention of member countries and the entire world to the alarming global temperature rise and its consequences.
  • The summit was based on the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) submitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2021.

>> COP26 Glasgow Summit UPSC [PDF]

COP26 Glasgow Goals

COP26 Glasgow had set four goals ahead of the summit.

  • By the middle of the century, achieve a global net zero and maintain 1.5 degrees within reach.
  • Protect communities and natural environments by adapting.
  • Make financial resources available.
  • Collaborate to deliver clear rules that will help achieve the Paris agreement.

Objectives of COP26 Glasgow Summit

The Conference of Parties or COP intends to achieve the following four main objectives and implement them successfully:

  • Acquire international worldwide net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5C degrees accessible
  • Efforts are taken to protect the natural habitats and kinships
  • Organise and mobilise funds and finances
  • Jointly make efforts to accomplish the desired goals by setting rules and details in order

Achievements of COP26

The achievements of COP26 have not been up to the mark, as many nations have not taken action with seriousness concerning the climatic changes and hazards. 

  • They had major goals like ending deforestation to slow down global warming and climate change and reduce methane emissions, as methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases.
  • Efforts are also taken to minimise the effects of climate change on the agriculture sector and thus reduce global warming. 
  • COP26 Glasgow Summit made governments understand the soil and nutrient management procedures, maintainable food production and livestock administration that are vulnerable to climate changes.

Glasgow Summit Outcomes

COP 26, or the COP26 Glasgow summit, has concluded with major announcements and initiatives. Some of them are:

  • One major initiative the member nations took was to reduce deforestation and completely stop it by the end of 2030 so that climate change could be slowed down.
  • The initiative will be supported by a corpus of 19.9 billion dollars to stop deforestation and the plantation of trees. Also, these funds will support a few developing nations in restoring degraded land and afforestation.
  • The next and one of the most important areas of focus at the summit was the reduction of greenhouse gases. The member nations have taken the pledge to cut down on the emissions of methane and carbon dioxide gases.
  • The IRIS (Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States) initiative has been launched with the combined efforts of India, the U.K., and Australia. Under this initiative, the infrastructure of small island countries will be developed, which is under existential threat because of climate change.
  • IRIS is an entity of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) program, supported by multiple governments, UN agencies, financial institutions, and development banks. The program focuses on developing new and existing infrastructure for the most vulnerable area to climate change and disaster-prone areas.
  • A new initiative known as the Green Grid Initiative (GGI) has been launched at COP 26. GGI is part of the One Sun, One World, One Grid program started by the International Solar Alliance. About 80 countries have stated their commitment to this initiative, under which the electricity will be produced by tapping solar energy and supplied across the borders.
  • Apart from energy production, this initiative will also prove to be beneficial in maintaining peace and harmony across borders as the nations will be cooperating with each other for the sustainable development of the countries and their inclusive growth.

COP26 India

COP 26 India Panchamrit was announced to highlight the country's climate commitments and a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.

COP26 India Panchamrit

  • At COP 26 held in Glasgow, India has set a great example for various developing countries that are only focused on economic development but have a very casual approach towards their environmental responsibilities. 
  • India has announced a set of declarations and initiatives contributing to environmental protection. These declarations have been named ‘Panchamrit’, a sacred mixture of ‘Five’ ingredients offered to the almighty according to the Indian culture. 
  • Citing the environment as Mother Nature, the 5 initiatives taken by India have been named ‘Panchamrit’.

COP26 India: Five Commitments

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made the world recognize the leadership initiative-building ability of India by introducing the ‘Panchamrit’ scheme at the COP 26 held. The Panchamrit scheme is a strategy that India will follow to keep the world's temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The key features of Panchamrit are-

  • India is committed to producing a clean and non-fossil energy supply of up to 500 gigawatts by the end of 2030.
  • India is determined to achieve the 50 % of its energy demand by renewable energy by the end of 2030.
  • India has committed to cutting down the emission of carbon by up to 1 billion tonnes by the year 2030.
  • India will push to cut the intensity of carbon in its economy by at least 45 % up to the year 2030.
  • India is set to acquire net-zero emissions up to the year 2070.

Importance of COP26

The Glasgow summit, or COP 26, is of extreme significance as it has initiated extensive programs for countering the situation of climate change.

  • The summit in Glasgow focused on cutting down on emissions of hazardous elements and restoring the forests.
  • The summit has also prompted the members to make extra efforts concerning achieving the targets before 2030.
  • The summit urged nations to cut their emissions to zero to maintain the overall global temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Setbacks of COP26 Glasgow Summit

Although COP 26 has emphasized the reduction of the global carbon budget, it is not going to be easy to successfully achieve the targets that were set during the summit for the following reasons:

  • The inability of many member nations to provide proper information regarding their plan of action in the process of zero carbon emissions.
  • There is neither a fine nor a penalty in case any member country fails to achieve the target, which will result in the ignorant behaviour of the members towards their targets.
  • Some of the targets described in the summit are conditional in nature, meaning that the members have to achieve them on the availability of financial support.
  • The summit could not commit the developed nations to the required funds. The summit could only urge the developed members to increase their financial support.

COP 26 UPSC 

COP 26 is an important summit covered under the syllabus of Environment & Ecology and Current Affairs. As an important topic for the upcoming IAS Exam, applicants must practice UPSC Previous Year’s Question Papers from the related topic

COP26 UPSC Question

Question: Which of the below were the setbacks of the Glasgow summit or COP 26?

  1. Biased climate budget distribution
  2. Lack of finance
  3. Setting the voluntary targets.
  4. All of the Above

Answer: Option D

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COP26 FAQs

  • In COP 26, 26 stands for the version of the meeting of the parties held ever since the conferences have been started.

  • COP26 was held from 31st October 2021 to 12th November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

  • The most important achievement of COP26 was finalising the Guidelines to fully implement the Paris Agreement successfully, as mentioned in Article 6.

  • COP26 was originally supposed to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID -19 Pandemic. Read all the important information about COP26 Summit from here.

  • "Adapt to protect communities and natural environments" was the theme of the COP26. The Glasgow Summit's official charter said that at COP26, we must cooperate to allow and inspire countries affected by climate change to: safeguard and restore ecosystems. To prevent the loss of homes, livelihoods, and even lives, construct defences, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure and agriculture.

  • The four main goals of COP26 Glasgow Summit are:

    • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats,
    • Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach,
    • Mobilise finance
    • Work together to deliver
  • 200 Countries participated in the COP 26 Glasgow Summit in 2021. 

  • COP27 was held from 6-20 November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It ended with the historic choice to create and launch a loss and damage fund.

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