The UN’s global conference on climate was planned to come to Glasgow in November 2020. As it has been postponed due to the pandemic, we are joining the call to ensure this does not mean climate action comes to a halt.
‘The year of climate action’ — that is what UK Prime Minister branded 2020 back in February. This was to be the year that the world’s most significant climate conference, the 26th UN Conference of Parties or COP26, was coming to the UK. Heralded with a new 2035 deadline to end petrol and diesel car sales, the year looked set to be one in which the UK took an international lead on addressing the climate crisis.
It was only weeks later that another crisis altogether engulfed the country, and the world. Events everywhere were being cancelled and postponed, and COP26 was no different — the official announcement came on the 1st of April.
COP is extremely important because it is the meeting of all the United Nations to review and negotiate the implementation of their climate targets.
The Paris Agreement, the existing convention whereby nations have agreed to take steps to limit global heating to 2°C, is so called because it was formed at COP21 which took place in Paris.
Whilst national governments everywhere are rightly taking action on tackling the global pandemic, the urgent need to address climate change has not gone away. And whilst many have taken the opportunity to promise to build back greener, we have seen one of the world’s biggest polluters in the United States officially leave the Paris Agreement (albeit temporarily).
It is clear that governments across the world must continue to have their feet held to the fire on climate action, whether COP is taking place or not.
Which is why we will be spending the time COP26 would have been taking place saying to governments and businesses: don’t COP out on climate action.
Where it was decided COP26 could not take place virtually, many climate focused events are doing so. Here are some highlights.
Taking place on Monday 16th November, ALT COP is the initiative of climate conscious craft beer brand Brewdog. The afternoon will feature business mavericks, experts and innovators on climate action. Good Energy's CEO and Founder Juliet Davenport will be speaking, alongside the likes of Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, professor Mike Berners-Lee, Ruth Andrade of Lush and Brewdog's own founder James Watt.
Coordinated by the charity Global Action Plan together with a community of teachers dedicated to educating on climate, this festival features days of themed discussions and activities for students and teachers alike.
This annual event first took place in 2019, but in 2020 it is scheduled to take place during the dates COP26 would have done. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “With the delay to COP 26 we can’t lose the momentum on climate action, so I’m pleased to see that London organisations are leading the way, showing once again that the capital is a driving force for action nationally and globally.”
As the sponsors of the UK’s first Local Conference of Youth in the run up to COP25, we know first hand that climate events run by youth, for youth, generate some of the best discussion and ideas. Mock Cop is exactly that — an event designed to keep the pressure on the decision makers within government, run by the young people who those decisions will affect most.
The UN itself is not ‘copping out’, and will still be running a series of virtual event series called the Race to Zero Dialogues Programme. Our CEO and Founder Juliet Davenport will be involved with this one, joining a panel discussion titled “The road to a sustainable recovery: How sustainable energy can light the way” which will be taking place at 9am – 10:30am GMT on 16th November, for which you can register here.