COP26 1-12 November 2021
What is COP26?
The COP is an annual summit of all the countries which are part of the UN’s climate change treaty, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or ‘UNFCCC’. There are 197 members of this process and they are known as ‘parties’ to the treaty. The Conference of the Parties, or COP, is when member countries meet annually for 2 weeks to - in theory - tackle the urgent climate crisis devastating our planet. But the '26' in 'COP26' means 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 curbed.
In 2015, in Paris, a significant 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. However, the pledges that were made would set our world on a course not for 1.5C warming, but a deadly 3.5C or 4C.
So the usefulness of the Paris agreement depends on regularly increasing (ratcheting up) these commitments, and on taking action right now to address the crisis, not just setting long-term targets.
But governments around the world have comprehensively failed to take real action on the climate crisis. Instead of breaking our addiction to fossil fuels, and acting with the urgency the climate crisis needs, rich countries hide behind ‘net zero’ pledges which depend on removing CO2 from the atmosphere on an unfeasible scale. As host, Boris Johnson’s government should be leading the way, but the UK is way off track to meet its climate targets, while international aid has been cut dramatically.
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 and a just transition. We need to ensure that the voices of those most at risk from the climate crisis are heard in and around the summit - this is especially crucial in this year where the Covid crisis and hoarding of vaccines by rich countries threaten equal access to the negotiations.
Campaign against Climate Change is part of a civil society coalition coming together to mobilise mass action around COP26. Because of Covid, we are planning for (alongside a massive demonstration in Glasgow) a callout for mobilisations in cities and towns around the UK and across the world on 6th November. There will also be a global climate strike day on 5th November.
Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you'd like to get involved in organising in your local area
Local meetings coming up (check back for more)
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.