All you need to know about COP26

What is COP26?

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26 for short) in Glasgow on 31st October to 12th November 2021. This will bring lots of world leaders together to talk about how to reach their shared climate  goals.

How does climate change relate to children and young people’s rights?

In 2019 it was recorded that a whopping 503 million children live in areas at extremely high risk of floods due to extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes and storms, as well as rising sea levels. Extreme weather events and natural disasters can put children’s most basic rights at risk, affecting access health, food, water, clean air, education and protection.

What goals have countries agreed to so far?

The COP meets every year to discuss the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is an agreement between 197 countries who’ve said they will work together to tackle global warming and prepare for the effects of climate change.

In 2015, these countries signed the Paris Agreement to say they would work together to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (ideally 1.5 degrees).

But in 2019, countries couldn’t agree on ways to offset carbon emissions and what financial aid should be given to developing countries for the damage caused by climate emissions from richer countries. As a result, there was a big protest by young people, expressing disappointment over the lack progress world leaders were making to tackle global warming.

What can you expect from COP26?

COP26 is likely to be the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted, with about 200 world leaders taking part and 30,000 attendees expected. Many people see it as the most significant climate event since COP21 in Paris, which is where the Paris Agreement was made, and 195 countries attended.

Presidents and prime ministers from around the world will be reporting on their country’s progress since the Paris Agreement and there should hopefully be some new decisions on how to reach the following two goals.

How will children and young people be involved?

Children and young people from across the world will be leading a huge international virtual climate change conference called Mock COP26. This will run for two weeks and begin on 19th November 2021. Children and young climate activists plan to come together to discuss urgent climate change issues affecting children and young people.

What can we do during COP26 to address this climate emergency?

We always want the voices of children and young people to be heard, that’s why we have put together a list of resources you can use to support children and young people during COP26 and beyond:

If you have resources you’d like to share or a COP26 climate event planned where children and young people are invited to get involved, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list above. You can email Naomi Sutton, Together’s Policy and Communication’s Assistant at: naomi@togetherscotland.org.uk

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