What is COP26 and what is Wales doing to help tackle climate change?

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This week the UK was due to host COP26 - the United Nations Conference of the Parties - in Glasgow, welcoming authorities from all over the world to discuss how we can tackle the issue of climate change.

The United Nations announced earlier this year that the global summit would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

COP26 was due to be held in Glasgow's Scottish Events Campus which is currently being used as a temporary field hospital in the midst of the pandemic.

The event has now been moved to take place in November 2021.

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Climate change is a global problem and is contributing to issues such as rising sea-levels, global warming, changing weather patterns and ocean acidification.

What is the science behind climate change?

The Earth is surrounded by a thin layer of gases - the atmosphere - which acts like a blanket by trapping the Earth's heat energy is.

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour maintain this blanket.

But human activity is producing further greenhouse gases - burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making this blanket thicker, resulting in global warming.

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The Met Office says: "Climate change refers to a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns and average temperatures.

"Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world. Since the mid-1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air.

"This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate."

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But what exactly is being done in Wales to tackle climate change?

In the lead up to COP26, the Welsh Government previously pledged in 2019 that it wants to cut down on carbon emissions and to continue to raise awareness about the issue of climate change.

Here are eight things the Welsh Government pledged to do from 2019 to tackle the 'climate emergency' in Wales:

  • Setting ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions

  • Making it easier for people to use their car less

  • Banning some single use plastics

  • Tackling the nature emergency by creating a national forest

  • Investing in the circular economy

  • More electric vehicle charging points

  • Establishing world-leading renewable industries

  • Promising to keep the conversation going

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A Welsh Government report in 2018 found that energy supply was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, followed by business, transport and agriculture.

Last week marked Climate Change Week in Wales, with businesses and individuals across the country pledging to help tackle climate change and lowering their carbon emissions.

The Welsh Government says The Climate Pledges campaign aims to 'galvanise action from government, business and communities in order to work together' to tackle the climate emergency.

It also says the pledges aim to show commitment to action in a variety of ways to ensure participation from across society.

The Pledges will be included as part of the All Wales’ Low Carbon Plan which is due to be published in 2021.

The plan will set out the Welsh Government’s approach to cut emissions and increase efficiency in a way that maximises wider benefits for Wales, ensuring 'a fairer and healthier society'.