COP26 Wraps Up

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow has come and gone, and as always there are potential impacts for the municipal sector.

Many experts have regarded COP26 with unique urgency and as the most important COP since COP21 in Paris in 2015. In 2015, parties agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, creating The Paris Agreement. Countries committed to meeting every five years with an updated plan. Delayed one year by COVID-19, COP26 represents the first of these meetings.

On November 13, 2021 COP26 concluded with all countries agreeing to keep the 1.5 degree target and finalize the outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement. For specifics on the negotiations and decisions see: COP26: The Negotiations Explained.

Municipalities have an important voice and impact on climate change, with local governments having influence over half of Canada’s green house gas emissions, many municipalities have declared climate emergencies and several are participating in the UN’s Race to Zero. As other levels of government work to implement commitments made at COP26, municipalities may face challenges and opportunities with potential new or enhanced programs and/or legislative change.