[[ROW-INTRO]] Recently, there has been a lot of talk around COP26. But, apart from being an important event around climate change, what precisely is COP26 about and why is it so important? [[ROW-INTRO-END]]

What is the UNFCCC?


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the first international treaty addressing climate change. It was established in 1994 and 197 countries, or parties, signed it. Its overall goal is the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations ‘’at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.’’ The parties meet every year at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss the progress made so far and future actions.



What is the Paris Agreement?


The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 UNFCCC parties at COP21 in 2015. Its main goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Countries have to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which describe the actions they will take to reach this goal. 


What is COP26 and what are its goals?


COP26 is the 26th time that the parties meet. It was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 and will now take place November 1st – 12th this year in Glasgow, Scotland. Since its emergence, the Paris Agreement is a significant topic at the annual COP meetings. The COP26 aims to reach four main goals:


1. Secure global net zero by mid-century (2050) and keep 1.5 degrees within reach 


Global net zero would mean that any emissions occurring globally are balanced out by being absorbed back from the atmosphere, for example through trees.


2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats  


Those countries most affected by climate change need to be protected by its effects through defenses, warning systems and resilient infrastructure. 


3. Mobilize finance 


Developed countries have promised to mobilize at least $100billion in climate finance per year – a promise they have yet to fulfill. This money is needed to fulfill the first two goals of COP26. 


4. Work together to deliver 


Action must be accelerated through collaboration and the Paris Agreement rule-book, which still lacks some clarity, must be finalized.



Why is COP26 so important?


Many state that COP26 may be the most important COP so far. This has several reasons. 


1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their sixth assessment report on the climate system and climate change in August this year. As António Guterres, the UN secretary general, put it – its findings are a "code red for humanity". The report found that if no drastic reductions in CO2 emissions occur in this decade, a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees cannot be prevented or reversed.  


2. NDCs need to be updated by the member countries every five years. COP26 marks the first time this needs to be done. With the IPCC’s finding, the urgency of ambitious NDCs is clear and all eyes are on COP26. 


3. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the largest global recession since the second World War. Rebuilding the economies presents a significant opportunity for green investment. Whether this will happen or not remains to be seen. 


4. The US will be back on the negotiating table. Under their current President Biden, the US has rejoined the Paris Agreement after withdrawing from it in 2019 under former President Trump. The US is the second-largest emitter of CO2 worldwide, making their contribution to the Paris Agreement extremely important.  


5. COP25 has had some issues reaching consensus on key issues such as the Paris Rulebook, specifically Article 6 on carbon markets and other international cooperation. The hope is that COP26 will be successful in resolving these issues.



How can you get involved?


1) Find out about the nationally determined contributions of your country to be able to hold them accountable.


2) Join events at the COP26 Green Zone at the Glasgow Science Centre. While official negotiations are closed to the general public, anyone can join events at the Green Zone for free, either in person or virtually


3) Educate yourself. You are a student and want to learn more about sustainable fashion? We have created a free online student program with many interesting interviews and resources for those interested in how to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Stay tuned for more information!


How is MUD Jeans getting involved?


We are taking an active role in the events around COP26.


1. We are part of IKEA’s exhibition at the New York Times Climate Hub in Glasgow showing successful case studies and solutions across their value chain.


2. We are a panelist at One Carbon World’s COP26 online workshop, where we will be taking part in their event "How can global fashion save the planet?".


3. Our MUD Jeans will be part of WaterBear’s 5-meter-long COP Ness Monster made of used jeans. This sculpture aims to show that, unlike the Loch Ness monster, there is nothing mythical about the positive impact circular design can have on the fashion industry. Stay tuned on our social media for updates!

Inès Franco