The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has been postponed.
The COP in Glasgow has been XR Scotland’s focal point for many months. Now the COVID19 emergency forces it to be held in 2021. We really hope that by the middle of next year this terrible health crisis will be over, that the ingenuity and collective efforts of humankind will have the solutions to overcome this virus.
But we also know that the ecological and climate emergency will not be over any time soon. We are glad the UNFCCC have acted decisively on the science for once, in choosing to delay the COP. Yet the science of the catastrophic effects of global heating and biodiversity loss tells us that there can be no delay in taking action.
COP26 president Alok Sharma describes COVID19 as ‘an unprecedented global challenge’ with the world’s nations ‘rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives’. We were already in the unprecedented global emergency of the climate and ecological crisis, and the focus on saving the lives it threatens should be no less drastic.
With the global response to the COVID pandemic, we have seen that our fundamentally linked-up world is capable of suspending business as usual, of prioritising lives over profit, and of making huge and sudden changes to our societies. We have seen people come together to provide mutual aid and creative responses in the face of overwhelming challenges. And this is what we must do in answer to the global existential threat of climate change.
In the midst of this pandemic, XR Scotland are continuing to act in solidarity, especially with the Global South and Indigenous peoples who are currently dealing with the consequences of climate and ecological emergency in their daily lives – the same people who are now particularly exposed also to the threat of the virus.
Our fight for climate justice and for a sustainable future won’t back down. In these times of crises, let us take care of each other, especially of those most at risk. In this way we will already be creating a more just society.
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Why is COP26 so important?
Because we are in a climate emergency and COP26 is widely seen as the last chance for governments around the world to reach agreements about how they will collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change. It’s vital that the people of the world speak with a resounding voice that cannot be ignored. We must also be prepared, if and when agreement fails, to show our governments that we will not be silenced.
When and where is COP26?
COP26 was originally scheduled for November 2020 but because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it has been delayed for 12 months, and will now take place between 1st and 12th of November 2021. It is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland/UK.
Why should we start working on COP26 now when it’s over a year away?
Because there’s so much to do! This includes:
- Growing and co-ordinating what can be the largest global mass mobilization we have ever seen!
- Making an impact at the many events in which world leaders will be meeting and negotiating between now and November 2021. Most likely, COP26 will only be a success if we and other civil society groups can do this
- Developing the worldwide relationships we need to make our voice both stronger and more effective
How are we organising?
We are creating a structure of groups and aim to include rebels from all over the world. This is a resilient structure, flexible to change and will serve us for the advanced planning of future events as well. It builds networks of advisers and strategies early and develops collaboration with other civil society and climate change groups. It also aims to provide a forum for all national/regional XR groups to share and co-ordinate any actions they are wishing to organise to ensure maximum impact.
View presentation here – https://prezi.com/view/DwpkJCUTkKJy32xSH6Rm
Who do we want to influence?
At COP26 governments will be negotiating the details of a whole set of agreements, although these agreements will largely be negotiated at pre-COP meetings and conferences. We want to influence these negotiations and decisions both before and during the COP26 event so that governments feel the pressure to set the ambitious targets required. The first targets, to be set by the end of 2020, are the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which specify how much every nation will contribute to the required global reductions in CO2 emissions. This is now urgent! Between now and November 2021, governments will also be negotiating on the associated ‘rule book’ to ensure agreements can be monitored and are legally binding as well as agreeing the terms of compensation to countries unfairly affected by the emissions of others.
To influence governments and delegations to make binding agreements, we also need to build public outrage at the poor commitments so far. To build public outrage we need to reach the as many people as possible around the world in the build up to COP.
What do we need to focus on now?
There are a whole range of tasks and challenges which we need to focus on in the coming months. These include:
- Reaching out and building alliances with more marginalised nations/ communities/XR groups, including indigenous people who are the most affected by climate change.
- Targeting individual countries to put pressure on them to establish ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution targets.
- Deciding strategies and engaging in actions to influence negotiations at key upcoming events including:
- The pre-COP SB-52 meeting in Bonn
- The G7 summit (USA) and the G20 summit (Saudi Arabia)
- The BRICS summit (Russia)
- The EU/China summit (Germany)
- The Convention on Biological Diversity summit (China)
- The UN/General Assembly climate week (USA)
What will we do?
The core of XR’s approach has been and will continue to be non-violent direct action (NVDA) but because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, this action will need to be adapted, including using digital platforms. We also aim to ensure as wide an involvement as possible from rebels around the globe with the use of People’s assemblies and other means. We envisage that although some actions will be organised by the COP26 Actions working group, many will be organised by individual national and regional groups. The COP26
How can I help?
There are many ways you can contribute to the work we are doing now. These include:
- Become a Cop26 national link person who can inform and mobilise rebels in your nation to take action at key events prior to Cop26 and influence NDC negotiations. You would join the global group of links and share ideas and support
- Join one of our working groups (you can learn more about these in the presentation about our structure – https://prezi.com/view/DwpkJCUTkKJy32xSH6Rm)
- Help us with specific tasks such as creating a social media post, researching potential collaborative partners in your country or taking notes at meetings, just to name a few.
How do I get involved?
- You can email us on [email protected] giving us some information about where you are from and if possible, how you would like to help. We will get back to you to discuss this further.
- You can join the COP channel on Mattermost where you will see channels for all the working groups. Once you join a channel for one or more of these groups, just send a message to say that you are interested in getting involved.