COP26 1-12 November 2021
What is COP26?
The Conference of the Parties, or COP, is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its 195 member countries meet annually for 2 weeks to, in theory, get to grips with the climate crisis. The '26' demonstrates that this will be the 26th such event. Young climate campaigners were not even born when this process started, and yet our global addiction to fossil fuels has still not been curbbed.
In 2015, in Paris, a big step was taken where all the member states signed up to an agreement to aim to limit warming to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels (avoiding some of the most catastrophic impact, but still harming many people and ecosystems). However, the agreement involved very little in the way of practical commitments to decarbonise or to transfer wealth from richer, heavily polluting countries to poorer nations who are suffering the impacts of climate change. The pledges that were made would set our world on a course not for 1.5C warming, but a deadly 3.5C or 4C.
The usefulness of Paris depended on increasing these commitments at subsequent meetings. Especially around taking action right now, not just setting long-term targets.
Spoiler: this process (ratcheting up commitments) hasn't really happened. Governments around the world have comprehensively failed to take real action on the climate crisis. The December 2019 summit in Madrid was not a success, and of course the current pandemic meant that the Glasgow 2020 conference has been postponed until 2021.
Despite the urgency of the climate crisis, there will as ever be powerful vested interests resisting real change, instead promoting the continuation of fossil fuel dependence through false solutions such as offsetting. Campaign against Climate Change will be working with others across civil society to use the COP as a moment to strengthen the climate justice movement - in Scotland, in the UK and internationally to build power for system change.
Find out more
The COP26 Coalition held a series of six webinars - Boiling Point: Everything you wanted to know about international climate negotiations - you can find the videos here.
Campaign against Climate Change is part of a civil society coalition coming together to mobilise mass action around COP26.