What is COP 26 and why should students pay attention?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties. It is the world’s biggest climate conference – and the decision-making body for global climate change solutions.

COP is held annually, this year it will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from the 31st of October to the 12th of November 2021. More than 190 world leaders will take part. Government officials, diplomats, activists, and more will all be attending COP26.

COP26 Goals

The four key aims of COP26 have been laid out as:

  1. Securing global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
  2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
  3. Mobilise finance
  4. Work together to deliver.

All four of these aims require countries and activists to come to COP26 with ideas and solutions for how they can be achieved. These plans are set every five years at the Paris Agreement where they reflect their highest possible ambition at that time.

Read more: COP 26 explained

What can we expect from the UK?

This year is particularly important to the UK as we are hosting it. This is an opportunity for the country to not only take a leading role in tackling climate change but also showcase the nations strengths and values on the global stage.

The UK are promising to protect and restore ecosystems, build defenses, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives. The Country is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies, and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of COP26.

Read more: The UK’s COP26 negotiations

How are young people having a say?

The Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition meeting is part of the process of the involvement of young people, which started in 2019, with the United Nation Youth Climate Summit. This event is organized by the government of Italy, in partnership with the UK, where almost 400 young people aged between 15 and 29 from 186 countries will meet to address the main urgencies of climate action. These meetings allow a chance for young people to voice their worries to Ministers attending COP26.

Find out more: Watch videos and live content

Why should students pay attention?


The climate crisis is urgent and it will affect your future and the things you enjoy – careers, travel, food and so much more!

Not only is this affecting us now, but it will worsen and affect our future generations, and planet. Hearing what commitments COP26 roll out with is crucial.

The politics behind climate change is one of the most important parts of resolving the crisis, but don’t forget you can have an impact as an individual too. You could write to your MP, reduce (or eliminate!) the meat in your diet, re-think your investments or reduce your food waste for example.

Where can students find out more?

Since this is such a heavy topic with a lot of information, we know it can be quite hard to understand what is happening. Luckily, there is a few student-friendly websites with plenty of resources available for free! There is also plenty of infographics about COP26 on Instagram, just search #COP26.

Overall, climate change is something that will affect us all, especially the younger generation, until something is done about it. Therefore, students should get involved as much as they can with what is happening around them.

Chloe Bishop – 1st year Geography Student

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