In November 2021, more than 200 world leaders will meet for an event, known as COP26, to discuss climate change. Read on to learn more about this super important event…

What is COP26?

First things first – what does ‘COP26’ even mean?! Well, ‘COP’ stands for ‘conference of parties’ – a meeting that involves lots of different people working towards the same goal.

COP26 is the 26th meeting of members of the ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but all you really need to know is that COP26 is a huge, important meeting all about taking action against climate change.

It began in 1994, when many world leaders became part of the UNFCCC and agreed that their countries would help to combat global warming. Since then, a COP has been held every year so that decision-makers can get together and discuss what to do next.

Where is the meeting?

COP26 will take place at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, Scotland, and will be the biggest meeting of world leaders that the UK has ever hosted!

Each year, COP takes place in a different country. COP25 was held in Madrid, Spain, in 2019, during which Greta Thunberg gave a now-famous speech. During this meeting, important targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions were agreed.

COP26 was supposed to take place in November 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was delayed by a year. The conference is now happening on the 1st-12th of November 2021.

Who will be at COP26?

Representatives from nearly every country in the world! This includes world leaders like the U.K.’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and President Joe Biden of the U.S.A., along with a whole host of other important people.

Members of the press will attend, to report about the conference on TV, radio and in newspapers. Plus, representatives from over 2,000 NGOs* are usually present, too.

*NGOs are ‘non-governmental organisations‘, such as Action Against Hunger, Greenpeace, and WWF – all have an interest in the outcome of COP26.

What will they talk about?

At COP meetings, governments from across the globe agree on targets for the future, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gases and protecting the planet. These decisions affect people all over the globe; they help us all work together to become greener and more sustainable.

Five years ago at COP21 in Paris, every member of the UNFCCC signed the Paris Agreement – an international commitment to tackle climate change. At COP26, members will review whether this agreement is working, and highlight any progress.

In the Paris Agreement, nations agreed that they would:

1. Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and invest in renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power.

2. Prevent global temperatures from warming by more than 2°C, and try to keep the increase as low as 1.5°C.

3. Help less-developed countries become more environmentally friendly, by supporting them financially.

4. Review progress on the Agreement every five years.

Why is COP26 important?

COP26 is the most important COP since 2015, when the Paris Agreement was created. It is an opportunity for the world to see what has been achieved since these targets were set – and pay attention to what hasn’t.

Hopefully, there will be new decisions on how to cut carbon emissions, and the world will make more progress on combatting climate change.

The after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic will also have an impact on COP26. Many governments are now paying more attention to the environment. As a result, they are hoping to rebuild their economies in a greener and more sustainable way.

Can I get involved?

You might not be able to attend COP26, but you can still make your voice heard! There are tonnes of ways to get involved with the UK’s ‘Year of Climate Action‘.

Simply talking about climate change with family and friends can inspire others to learn more about it and why they should care. Or if you want to take your passion one step further, why not write to your MP? You could tell them what YOU think is important, and let them know how passionate you are about saving our planet!

What do you think governments should decide at COP26? Let us know in the comments below!

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