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COPs are the biggest and most important annual climate-related conferences on the planet.
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.
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.
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, 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
@ COP 26. This free and open hub for citizens allowed everyone to join the climate discussion beyond the COP26
cordon. This major fringe event took place in Strath Union in collaboration with other universities and
Find out more
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.
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.