What is COP? Key facts and terms at climate summit explained

Oct 30, 2021, 3:27 PM | Updated: Nov 2, 2021, 12:00 am
In this combination of 2021 and 2017 photos, a man watches as wildfires approach Kochyli beach on t...

In this combination of 2021 and 2017 photos, a man watches as wildfires approach Kochyli beach on the Greek island of Evia, and a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf is observed during a flyover by NASA. The 2021 U.N. climate summit in Glasgow renews an urgent question to the international community: Can the world come together to confront the common enemy of global warming before it’s too late? (AP Photo/Thodoris Nikolaou; John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

(AP Photo/Thodoris Nikolaou; John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The U.N. climate summit, known as COP26 this year, brings officials from almost 200 countries to Glasgow to haggle over the best measures to combat global warming.

Here are some of the terms and key issues that will be discussed at the event, which started Sunday and is scheduled to run to Nov. 13:


Short for Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

First held in 1995, it also serves as the meeting of parties to the 1992 Kyoto Protocol that first committed countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and those that signed on to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Governments meeting in the French capital six years ago agreed on a target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7F), by the end of this century compared with pre-industrial times.

The 26th conference was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 25,000 delegates are registered for the Glasgow event, which is being chaired by British official Alok Sharma.


More than 100 world leaders will attend the start of the summit Monday and Tuesday, known as the high-level segment, including U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, who presided over the first COP, will make one of her last international trips as chancellor, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to attend in person.

Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis have canceled their trips to Glasgow, while Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are not scheduled to go but may deliver speeches by video link.


The Paris accord set a target for limiting global warming but left it up to each country to submit its own emissions reduction targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions.

Part of the plan was for countries to regularly review and, if necessary, update their targets to ensure the Paris goal is met.

Governments were required to submit their new NDCs five years after Paris, but that deadline was quietly pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Countries had hoped to finalize the so-called Paris rulebook a few years after the accord was signed, but some elements of the agreement remain unfinished.

They include how countries collect and report their greenhouse gas emissions in a transparent way and how to regulate global carbon markets.


Among the top issues at COP26 is the question of how poor countries will afford the expense of ditching cheap fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy while adapting to the inevitable effects of global warming already “baked into” the atmosphere.

There is a consensus that rich nations, whose greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible for climate change, have to pay up. The question is how much.


Many governments have stressed that finding ‘green’ jobs for millions of people working in the fossil fuel industry is a challenge.

This is true for developing countries as well as for rich nations such as the United States, where coal mines and oil fields are major employers in otherwise economically depressed regions.


Trees, wetlands and oceans are constantly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Calculating how much CO2 is absorbed and stored by these carbon sinks is a key part of the climate change equation.

Some countries believe they can balance out much of their emissions using their own natural resources; scientists and environmental campaigners are skeptical about the idea.


Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she doesn’t want to be the center of attention and other campaigners from developing countries should be heard too.

But Thunberg, who inspired the Fridays for Future youth rallies, was mobbed like a rock star by fans and journalists Saturday as she arrived in Glasgow by train.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged that mass climate protests have put pressure on world leaders to take the issue more seriously,

“Keep pushing for action,” he told a youth conference Saturday.


Follow AP’s coverage of the climate talks at http://apnews.com/hub/climate

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

EU candidate Serbia and Russia sign foreign policy agreement

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia has signed an agreement with Russia for mutual “consultations” on foreign policy matters, the Balkan country’s media reported Saturday. Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic signed the agreement Friday along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, where most […]
1 day ago
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...
Associated Press

On Ukraine, Russia repeats insistence that it had no choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia made its case to the world Saturday for its war in Ukraine, repeating a series of grievances about its neighbor and the West to tell the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders that Moscow had “no choice” but to take military action. At the heart of Foreign Minister Sergey […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for

BOSTON (AP) — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp has been accounted for using modern scientific techniques, military officials said. Army Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo, 19, of East Boston, was accounted for in August, according to a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Pink Floyd founder cancels Poland concerts after war remarks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has canceled concerts planned in Poland amid outrage over his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Polish media reported Saturday. An official with the Tauron Arena in Krakow, where Waters was scheduled to perform two concerts in April, said they would no longer take place. “Roger […]
1 day ago
A model wears a creation as part of the Dolce & Gabbana women's Spring Summer 2023 collection prese...
Associated Press

Kim Kardashian culls Dolce & Gabbana archives for Milan show

MILAN (AP) — Kim Kardashian took Milan by storm on Saturday, curating a new collection for Dolce & Gabbana that took inspiration from 20 years of archival looks. It was a day of debuts in Milan, including Maximilian Davis, a 27-yeaer-old British designer with Afro-Caribbean roots, at the creative helm of Salvatore Ferragamo and Filipino […]
1 day ago
Simon Stiell sits for an interview to discuss his new role as the executive secretary of the U.N. F...
Associated Press

Interview: New UN climate chief takes the fight personally

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — For the United Nations’ new climate chief, the fight is personal. As a former engineer who says he knows “how to make things work and get things done,” it wasn’t just what Simon Stiell did before he became a top U.N. official, it was where. Stiell was the environment and climate […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
What is COP? Key facts and terms at climate summit explained