Quick guide to COP26

What is the COP26?

The Conference of the Parties is the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC is basically the global acknowledgment that, ecologically, we’re not doing so well. Their long term objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations and thus every year (since 1995) states have been meeting to discuss how to go about doing this. COP26 is thus the 26th conference held by this body.

Why is COP26 so important?

Because we are in a climate and ecological 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 in the north of the 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:

  1. Growing and co-ordinating what can be the largest global mass mobilization we have ever seen!
  2. Making an impact at the many events in which world leaders will be meeting and discussing crucial emissions targets (NDCs) which will be set this year
  3. Pushing for a post COVID-19 global Green Recovery which is required to meet emissions targets
  4. Developing the worldwide relationships we need to make our voice both stronger and more effective

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 public around the world in the build up to COP. We intend to choose the easy targets to build mass outcry, so a left wing and center focus will be the priority. We will also try to influence the right wing or conservative population by highlighting how the climate emergency is threatening their prospects now and endangering their families’ security. The Covid-19 pandemic and increasing focus on climate change within the business and financial sectors should assist us in doing this.

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:

  1. Reaching out and building alliances with more marginalised nations/ communities/XR groups, including indigenous people who are the most affected by climate change
  2. Targetting individual countries to put pressure on them to establish ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution targets and Green Recoveries
  3. 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 COP Network will serve as a communication and co-ordination portal to ensure that actions can have the biggest impact possible

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 xrcop26hub@protonmail.com 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.