COP26: What is it and why is it important? Join our series of events.

What is COP26?

Between 31 October – 12 November 2021 Glasgow will play host to the UN’s 26th Conference of the Parties – COP26. The 197 parties (196 countries and the EU) who signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty in 1194 will be in attendance to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework on Climate Change – in simple terms they will be making important decisions on how humanity tackles climate change.

United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world, with complex negotiations taking place between officials from every country, representatives from civil society and the global news media. COP26 is the largest summit ever hosted by the UK and is described as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Paris agreement was signed at COP21 in 2015. The agreement was the first of its kind – a legally binding agreement where each country signed up to cut carbon emissions to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and ideally to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. At COP26 the Paris Agreement will be a key discussion top and for this reason, many believe that COP26 is pivotal in driving forward action on climate change and enacting the agreement.

Watch the one minute video from People’s advocate, Sir David Attenborough, on the importance of COP26.

Why do I need to know about COP26 and how can I get involved?

Issues of the long-term sustainability of society and of our planet are considered to be one of the greatest Global Challenges ever facing us. COP26 is a crucial step in addressing this globally, where countries will develop their plans which feed into policies and law affecting each and every one of us.

You can take action in many ways, we’ve developed a brief resource centre where you can learn more about COP26 and the climate emergency.

You can join the #OneStepGreener campaign by sharing the steps our taking to reduce your environmental impact and contribution to climate change – anything from using a reusable bottle to switching to a renewable energy tariff.

We’d also love to see you at one of our COP26 X c-change events, find out more below.

What we’re doing at the University of Brighton – COP26 X c-change

In line with the fortnight of COP26 the University’s Sustainability Team are hosting a number of events to encourage you, our students and staff, to take action on climate change including sustainability strategy development sessions, film screenings, led walks, a visit to the Rampion windfarm visitor centre and a forest bathing activity.

Sport Brighton are also supporting the events with a cycle and sustainable travel challenge on Playwaze, sign up and log your journeys to be in with a chance of winning cycle kit including puncture repair kits and panniers.

Help shape our sustainability strategy

We invite all students and staff to join our events and the launch of the development of the university’s sustainability strategy. We will be hosting an event on each campus to gather views from staff and students on what you think should be included in the strategy. The informal drop-in sessions will provide the opportunity to discuss what the strategy could look like and meet members of the sustainability team.

Find out when the session is happening on your campus, along with our other events, and learn more about COP26 and its importance from our Resource Centre and events page.

What is the UK doing?

In June 2019 the UK Government set a net zero target for carbon emissions by 2050. This has been followed up with a Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener released on 19 October 2021. The plan includes policies and proposals to reduce emissions for each sector including power, fuel supply, heat and buildings, transport, investment, jobs and local climate action.

There is no doubt that delivering any plan will be challenging and questions are already being raised on how the plan will be funded, what tax implications there will be, how technology will be developed and if the transition to net-zero will be just and affordable.

Find out more about the plan on the GOV.UK website

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