If you’ve been watching the news, you may have heard about something called COP26, and that’s it’s going to be really important for the environment. But what is COP26, why is it important, what’s going to happen and how can it help wildlife?
What is COP26
COP26 is a meeting of global leaders.
The COP part of the name stands for Conference Of Parties – no, not that kind of party. The ‘parties’ here means members of the United Nations, which means representatives from nearly every country on the planet. COP events happen nearly every year, though the 2020 event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are hosted by different countries.
COP events are the United Nations Climate Change Conferences, where the world comes together to talk about climate change, the science, modelling and predictions, and to agree a strategy for dealing with it.
COP26 is called that because it is the 26th Conference of Parties, and is being jointly run by the UK and Italy.
Where is COP26 happening
COP26 will take part in Glasgow, Scotland, from Monday 1st November to Friday 12th November 2021. There will be meetings and events happening for officials from around the world.
The general public won’t be able to attend these meetings, but there will be lots of other events designed for people to get involved in, and learn more about climate change, around the city of Glasgow while COP26 is happening.
Why is COP26 important?
It’s important because we are running out of time. At COP21, the Paris Agreement was made and signed; every country agreed to work together to limit global warming and to help each other adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already happening – and to make sure there was money available to allow this to happen.
COP21 was 5 years ago, so now it’s time to see how we’re doing, and make urgent plans, because the science shows that if we don’t make big changes now, we won’t be able to limit global warming and climate change effects, and will end up with more catastrophic events that will affect every country, ever person, every animal and every habit on Earth.
How can COP26 help wildlife?
The representatives at COP26 can decided to make legally-binding agreements to address things like pollution, habitat loss, water quality, energy efficiency, CO2 emissions, and much more. Each of these things plays a part in climate change overall, and each of things also has a big impact on both wildlife and people.
What are the goals of COP26?
COP26 has four main goals:
- Achieve net zero emissions but 2050, and keep global warming under 1.5 degrees
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- Mobilise finance to ensure EVERYONE can afford to reduce their impact
- Work together
Read the full COP26 goals page to find out how each of these goals will be reached, by – for example – working together to build warning systems, collaborate on new technology, reduce habitat loss and eliminate coal power stations.
How can I find out more about COP26?
There are LOTS of really great resources available online, from news sites that will give you the latest information to resources for teachers. We’ve listed a few below:
- UN Climate Change Conference 26 – official site
- Scottish Government COP26 resources for teachers
- Scottish Primary School’s Countdown to COP
- Countdown to COP resources for older students – Scottish Government
- Short online course – Learning for a Sustainable Future