COP26, an explainer.

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You have probably heard a lot about COP26, which is being held in our neighbouring city of Glasgow. Whilst the headlines are compelling, what does it all really mean?

What is COP26?

  • COP stands for Conference of the Parties.
  • It is the name for the UN’s climate change conference.
  • This is the 26th edition, as COVID delayed it by a year.
  • Key opportunity for countries to lay down exactly how they are going to achieve what they agreed to during the 2015 Paris Agreement, in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • Adopted at COP21, the Paris Agreement aims to keep global heating to below 2 degrees celsius (but preferably 1.5) above the global pre-industrial temperature.
  • COP26 is a negotiation on the practicalities of how to manage climate change.
World leaders hope to lay out exactly how they will achieve the goals the set during the 2015 Paris Treaty at COP26.

Who’s at COP26?

  • 30,000 attendees are expected this year, making it the largest conference the UK has ever hosted.
  • Representatives of the countries which signed the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate change. This is a treaty which came into effect 27 years ago in 1994.
  • NGO’s, charities, businesses, trade unions, and environmental spokes persons are also in attendance.
Protesters are also attending COP26 in force, calling for substantive change, rather than tired platitudes.

What do they hope to achieve?

There are 4 main goals for this years COP:

  • Set up mitigation efforts: further reduce emissions to keep the Paris Treaty goal within reach.
  • Strengthen adaptation and resilience: Protect the people of the world, particularly those who are vulnerable, from the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
  • Mobilise climate finance: Allocate money fairly from partner countries to support the effort.
  • Enhance international collaboration.

The UK has also highlighted 5 key themes for COP26, which enhance the above aims:

  • Clean energy
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Energy transition in transport
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Finance

Why does COP26 matter?

We now live in a globalised world, and unless we take collective responsibility for what is happening to the planet, we have no hope of stopping climate change.

World leaders must be held to account, and pushed to make significant changes in order to mitigate the already evident changes in our climate.

What can you do to help?

Hold your local MP to account, check their voting records, and use your vote whenever you have the opportunity.

Check out the Climate Change Committee, the independent UK advisor on climate change.

Educate yourself, charities such as the Soil Association have excellent information available on how to demand change from world leaders.

Make your own small changes! A little goes a long way. Reducing plastic use is a great way to help the environment, look for biodegradable packaging, or utilise refills at our Tollcross store.

Reduce the amount of animal produce you consume, check our some tasty alternatives here.

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