In 1994 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change decided to meet annually to discuss matters related to climate change. This annual meeting became known through the Convention as the Conference of the Parties (COP). COP 26, was held in Glasgow, UK, from 31st October to 12th November 2021.

In this section you will find articles related to the history of COP, the development of international treaties, Parties’ ambitious commitments in relation to climate change, and focus pieces on what to expect in the upcoming COP.

Science and innovation are critical components of the battle against climate change and significantly shaped COP26 Innovation is seen as the solution for a sustainable and prosperous future, and countries are competing in being innovation leaders Nevertheless, systemic transformation is need in order to tackle climate change. Read more
Indigenous peoples are the “Guardians of the Forests”. COP26 saw a significant $1.7bn pledge being made towards the recognition of land tenure by Indigenous peoples. Nature-based solutions might threaten rights of Indigenous peoples and their adoption must be urgently regulated. Read more
Climate finance remains an unresolved issue following COP26, little ground was made during negotiations on Loss & Damage and the $100 billion adaptation finance promised by developed countries over a decade ago; Private financiers emerged as a willing funding source for sustainability programmes, with both philanthropists and major companies expressing an interest in addressing gaps in climate finance; The Glasgow Climate Pact recommended a scaling back of fossil fuel subsidies, but many nations have already found loopholes to keep fossil fuels within their energy portfolios. Read more
COP26 failed to ensure substantial participation and representation of young people in decision-making spacesThe Glasgow Climate Pact does include many references to meaningful youth engagement in international climate negotiations, reflecting the Youth4Climate Manifesto and the COY16 Statement.The Youth4Climate event will occur every year before COP, called “Forever Youth4Climate”. Read more
Climate targets are the foundation of climate policy Both 1.5°C and 2°C have been targetted for international climate policy While 2°C was once the dominant goal, the emergent 1.5°C target must be adopted as the climate goal. Read more
Special interest groups pushed against actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before the COP26 global climate summit. In official environmental assessment reports, wealthy countries wanted to downplay the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The fossil fuel lobby represented the most influential group at the COP 26 negotiations Read more
Under the Vienna Convention, Treaties are considered to be binding agreements. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties also governs how treaties are established. The withdrawal process varies depending on the specific terms of each treaty. Read more
The most high-profile commitment of the Glasgow Climate Pact was the promise to ‘phasedown’ coal use - rather than to phase it out. However, the pact did mark the first time in the UN climate process that the Parties recognised the need to rapidly reduce coal The Glasgow Climate Pact promised progress on finance, adaptation, Article 6, and employed strong language supporting the scientific consensus on climate change. Loss and damage and nature and biodiversity received far fewer concrete commitments in the final draft. Read more
80% of people displaced by climate impacts are women and girls, yet only 33% of negotiators at COP26 were women. In order to address the gap in gender-focused climate finance, the UK pledged £165 million towards projects which address gender inequality in climate through the empowering of women. Education for girls is central to addressing gender inequality and combating the climate crisis Read more
The GCF is a UN body and the world’s largest climate fund, dedicated to investing in mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries. The fund has had many successes, including in projects relating to the Great Green Wall and the pandemic recovery. The GCF’s work has also been criticised, however, for lacking transparency, focusing too heavily on mitigation and failing to engage with minority communities. Read more

Banner photo courtesy of UNFCCC