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Individuals participating in climate fresk workshop

Conference of Parties

COPs are the biggest and most important annual climate-related conferences on the planet.

What are COPs?

For nearly three decades the United Nations has been bringing together politicians, governing bodies, and campaigners from around the world for global climate summits. The goal of the conferences is to review progress made by the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to limit climate change.

COP26 at Strath Union

Strath Union hosted a number of events and workshops as part of a free and open hub during COP26 to engage students and staff with the climate crisis and its connecting themes.

Read about what happened at the Union during the 26th annual summit.

Why was COP26 significant?

In 2015, during the COP21 conference in Paris, the Paris Agreement was signed by multiple countries in their efforts to tackle global warming and climate change through dedicated, national policies that would reduce emissions. For the first time ever, every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees. They agreed that every five years they would come back with an updated plan.

COP26 was the 5th conference held after COP21 which meant this conference would result in an updated plan. It was also significant because scientists had discovered that current policies would potentially not be quick enough in creating change to limit global warming in the way they thought. They recommended countries must go much further to keep the hope of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive. This featured heavily across all the discussions held during COP26.

After the Pandemic

After the Pandemic, a Glasgow based community initative, worked with Fair Futures Partnership and a diverse group of global partners, organisations, speakers, musicians, artists, and community groups to deliver After the Pandemic @ COP 26. This free and open hub for citizens allowed everyone to join the climate discussion beyond the COP26 security cordon. This major fringe event took place in Strath Union in collaboration with other universities and international partners.

Find out more

COP27 Recap

The last COP took place in 2022 in El-Sheikh, Egypt. The main areas of focus of this COP were:

  • Mitigation: how are countries reducing their emissions?
  • Adaptation: how are countries going to adapt and help others do the same?
  • Climate Finance: how will developing countries be adequately compensated for the “loss and damage” caused by the climate crisis?

The “loss and damage” financing to compensate countries that are currently and who will continue to suffer from the consequences of the climate crisis is of particular interest. This involves the fulfilment of the $100 billion annual promise in adaptation finance from developed to low-income countries.

Although we saw reasonable progress towards climate finance, especially for loss and damage at COP27, there appeared to be many discrepancies in the pace and scale of action towards issues such as adaptation, emission cuts, accelerating the energy transition and carbon markets.

COP27 was also seen by many as the “African COP” with its location being in Egypt and therefore on the African continent. In some ways, it did live up to its name as African-led initiatives such as the African Cities Water Adaptation fund enabling ‘African city leaders to directly access funding and technical support to implement innovative solutions targeting a range of water issues’ were launched. However, the criticism surrounding the lack of African activists in attendence at the conference overshadowed this, as well as the growing sense of dissatisfaction at the slow movement towards action from members felt by global citizens.



World Resources Institute

IPCC Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 6th evaluation report in 2022 presented the world with 4 key findings:

  • We are set to pass the 1.5 degrees threshold by 2040
  • Humans are the main drivers of climate
  • We need to take notice of methane levels
  • We are close to reaching irreversible tipping points

View report

This is alarming as scientists have warned about the catastrophic results on the climate if the world reaches average temperatures of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees so far and we are already seeing increases in natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes and other events. These points give global leaders and citizens scientific guidance as to how we may target our climate action.

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