An introduction to COP26
This article is written by Maitreyi Tusharika, a third year management student who is working as a COP26 Student Reporter Intern. She will be writing a series of articles over the next few months covering the different aspects of COP26 discussions and events.
Civil society groups, policymakers, and world leaders are working hard towards securing a better future for us and for our planet. They want to hear from young people, and they know that we are not here for empty promises. Whether you are an environmental activist who closely follows climate change discussions, or an individual looking to get involved with the greater dialogue around protecting the planet, your voice is more important than ever.
In 2018, Greta Thunberg stepped onto the COP24 stage in Poland and radiated honesty. She emphasised the need to work towards this together, even if it meant saying things that made us uncomfortable. A year later at COP25, she questioned the lack of panic from world leaders on the alarming facts that indicated we were running out of time.
In 2020, however, she did not make a speech to a live audience. COP26 had to be postponed because we were faced by one of the deadliest pandemics in a long time. Leaders began to finally panic. We were asked to stay home for safety from the virus, but we were actually sheltering away from a grieving planet that had been exploited for the needs of the privileged few. A year later, vaccinations are bringing life in the UK back to ‘normal’ but developing nations like India are faced with what some would describe as a ‘deadly apocalypse’. We need change that is urgent, that is intersectional, that is just.
We can lobby for this. We can get involved and pay attention to the greater dialogue around the plans for our future. And we can start by following COP26.
COP26, or the 26th Conference of Parties, is an annual conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These conferences have had a mixture of successes and failures in the past. COP21 is deemed as the most impactful one thus far, as it resulted in unanimous consensus for the Paris Agreement from all member states. COP26 will see the ‘ironing out’ of this agreement along with deliberation over key issues that need to be addressed moving forward.
The conference will be led by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy. The event has been planned to take place close to home in Glasgow and it is a wonderful opportunity for us all to be closely involved.
Whilst it looks and sounds quite high-profile, do not let that intimidate you from engaging. You may not be able to go to Glasgow to participate directly, but a will to learn is all you need to get the most out of this conference.
Tell us what you would like to see, and ask questions no matter how big or small. The university is making plans towards ensuring that you can be a part of this. There are multiple events being conducted in the run up to the conference, and we are compiling a list of resources covering activist platforms and media channels that are a great way of learning about the themes and broader agenda.