The 2021 Climate Summit: What You Need to Know About COP26


Jul. 8 2021, Published 4:52 p.m. ET

2021 Climate Summit
Source: Getty Images

This year, the U.K. will host the annual COP26 UN climate change conference. The event represents the Conference of Parties’ (COP) 26th year of fighting against the literal rising tide of climate change. COP26 promises to be the largest summit of its kind hosted in the U.K. and is expected to draw more than 30,000 attendees.

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This 2021 climate summit represents a turning point for the global community and a chance to make necessary changes in the world today. The only question is: how will we make those changes together?

Climate Action Summit in 2019
Source: Getty Images
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What are the goals of the 2021 climate summit?

According to the official COP26 website, the main goal of this year’s conference is to secure a global emissions rate of net-zero by mid-century as proposed by the Paris Agreement. Reducing global emissions to net-zero would keep us away from that perilous 1.5-degree danger zone that scientists believe could prove catastrophic for life on Earth.

In order to meet this goal of net-zero emissions, however, the nations of the world must accelerate the phase-out of coal as a viable fuel source, curtail deforestation, improve the functionality and adoption rates of electric vehicles, and encourage capital investment in renewable resources.

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Other goals of the COP26 conference are to protect communities and natural habitats from the devastating effects of climate change and to protect and restore ecosystems. Above all else, the climate summit is meant to foster a sense of community and cooperation, not only in terms of eco-friendly policy but in shared fiscal and social responsibility.

Protesters marching against climate change
Source: Getty Images
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Where and when is the 2021 climate summit being held?

Originally, the 26th COP climate conference was scheduled to be held between Nov. 9 and Nov. 19, 2020, but it was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea was to wait until global vaccination rates have reached acceptable levels, so now, the new date for the conference falls between Nov. 1 through Nov. 12, 2021, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland.

Who will attend the 2021 climate summit?

COP26 will host many climate advocates, world leaders, and celebrities — Al Gore and popular climate activist Greta Thunberg will likely be in attendance.

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According to the BBC, when Thunberg attended COP25 at the age of 16, she lambasted politicians for their ineffectual policies in regards to climate change. She also chastised them for making misleading promises about their dedication to meeting emissions goals by not considering those created by the air travel and shipping industries.

Greta Thunberg speaking out against climate change
Source: Getty Images
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How can I participate in the 2021 climate summit?

COP26 has three categories of attendees: representatives of the COP, those from the Observer States, members of the press or media, and finally, representatives from observer organizations, such as certain non-governmental organizations or inter-governmental organizations.

Currently, individual attendees that have no government or affiliation with any of the aforementioned groups are unable to attend the conference. That said, members of the public can get involved through volunteering in the host city through the COP26 attendees' website. Businesses can join in the conversation via the #RaceToZero global initiative.

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