The House

CBC Radio's The House: Is COP26 our 'last, best hope'?

On this week’s show: Guest host Laura Lynch offers a primer on the negotiations and deal-making expected at COP26, the UN climate summit kicking off in Glasgow next week. Plus — Denmark’s climate ambassador maps out his country’s efforts to transition away from fossil fuels and get other nations on board, and the Maldivian foreign minister and president of the UN General Assembly discusses the biggest climate threats facing island nations and the need for rich countries to help out.

Here is what's on this week's episode of The House

Glasgow's historic downtown steeple now warns of a climate emergency heading into COP26. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)
On this week’s show: Guest host Laura Lynch offers a primer on the negotiations and deal-making expected at COP26, the UN climate summit kicking off in Glasgow next week. Plus — Denmark’s climate ambassador maps out his country’s efforts to transition away from fossil fuels and get other nations on board, and the Maldivian foreign minister and president of the UN General Assembly discusses the biggest climate threats facing island nations and the need for rich countries to help out. 48:03

Making the most of the 'last, best chance'

The COP26 conference in Glasgow, which starts next week, has been hailed as the "last, best chance" to stop catastrophic climate change. But going into the conference, is there any sign that countries have set themselves — and the planet — up for success? 

Catherine Abreu, a member of the Canadian delegation to the conference and head of the group Destination Zero, and Jennifer Allan, who has attended roughly 40 UN conferences and is an adviser to the de facto record of global environmental negotiations — the Earth Negotiations Bulletin — join guest host Laura Lynch to preview what an effective COP26 would look like.

Plus: Chatham House's Anna Åberg and the World Resource Institute's Taryn Fransen provide a handy jargon-buster. Why is it called a COP? What is an NDC? The two answer those and other questions about the technical language that tends to dominate climate change conferences.

Two climate watchers heading to COP26 — Catherine Abreu of the group Destination Zero, and Jennifer Allan of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin — offer a preview of the conference, and two policy experts break down some of the must-know jargon surrounding the summit. 19:33

Canada's climate questions

While Canada gets most of its energy from renewable sources, it is also one of the globe's biggest exporters of fossil fuels. 

This week saw the release of the Production Gap report, published by the UN and other research groups. It analyzes the gaps between countries' plans for fossil fuel production and the amount of production that can actually happen while limiting the rise in global temperatures.

Peter Erickson of the Stockholm Environment Institute, one of the groups that co-authored the Production Gap report, tells The House why Canada's production of oil and gas is at odds with its climate goals. Simon Donner, professor at the University of British Columbia and a member of Canada's Net-Zero Advisory Body, explains what Canada has to do to meet those goals.

The Stockholm Environment Institute’s Peter Erickson explains why Canada’s oil and gas production is at odds with its climate goals, and climate scientist and UBC professor Simon Donner explains what Canada has to do to meet those goals. 8:47

The effort to end oil and gas

Several countries, including Canada, have said they will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — while simultaneously approving new projects in their oil and gas industries. That's a "paradox," said Denmark's energy minister. 

That country is co-leading an effort called the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance to get nations to back an explicit transition away from fossil fuels. Denmark's climate ambassador, Tomas Anker Christensen, sits down with guest host Laura Lynch to discuss what he hopes it will achieve and whether Canada should join.

Denmark’s climate ambassador, Tomas Anker Christensen, discusses the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance — a new group looking to speed up the phasing-out of those industries. 9:18

A matter of life and death

Catastrophic climate change poses a threat to the entire world, but in a small island country like Maldives, that threat is already all too apparent. And like many other vulnerable nations, the state lacks the resources to mitigate some of those climate-driven risks. 

Abdulla Shahid, the Maldivian foreign minister and current president of the UN General Assembly, joins The House to talk about the threat to his home country and the need for rich countries to chip in.

Abdulla Shahid, the Maldivian foreign minister and the current president of the UN General Assembly, explains the biggest climate threats facing his home country and the need for rich countries to help out. 6:46

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