AXC: Uncovering COP - What Is COP26?

AXC: Uncovering COP - What Is COP26?

This post was written in October 2021.


Since 1995, the United Nations have held yearly ‘Conferences on Climate Change’ to assess how countries are meeting the aims and promises agreed in the Kyoto Protocol and, more recently, the Paris Agreement (two significant United Nations agreements to take major action on tackling climate change). Glasgow (with Italy) is hosting the 26th of these: the ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP for short), means the meeting of all those who were party to those agreements.

In short: COP 26 will be a huge meeting of international government representatives from across the globe, who will come together to make firmer, stricter agreements to act on climate change: it has been described as one of the last chances to hold off climate breakdown. Our city expects to receive 30,000 visitors representing 197 countries during the conference, from 31 October – 12 November 2021.

Alok Sharma, Conservative Member of Parliament and President for COP26, talks about how it will be a chance ‘to build back better, and greener’ from the Covid-19 pandemic. He says he wants countries at COP26 to agree:

  • To limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C maximum
  • To reach net zero carbon production across the globe (this means that the world must produce less carbon than it takes out of the atmosphere) by 2050
  • To protect and restore ecosystems, particularly forests.

How will this happen?

Reaching these goals will require the whole world to agree to halve emissions from fossil fuel production (burning coal and gas). This is a huge goal… In reality, it will mean completely changing the world’s economy: leaders will need to agree to change what countries produce, how they produce it, and who consumes it. We will all be affected by this, but ordinary citizens need strong leadership here.

What’s more, poorer countries are going to need significant help for their economies to meet these ‘green goals’. At COP26, leaders of rich countries will be asked to promise to raise $100 billion every year in ‘climate finance’ to meet these aims.

We are asking a lot of our leaders at COP26, but we are the people they serve: global citizens. Let’s hope they step up to the plate and take their duties seriously. We hope that a ‘Glasgow Pact’ will be agreed in November that will see global leaders act more decisively than ever to save our planet. We want this Pact to be something that leaders have to answer to every single year into the future: they have to show their global citizens what they are doing to keep us all safe.

Stay tuned to the blog, and our socials, for the next part of Uncovering COP, where we'll look deeper at what needs to happen at this Conference, for the true protection of our planet.


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