The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) will be the most important climate negotiations since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015. Up to 200 heads of government from around the world as well as up to 30,000 delegates, including climate experts, business leaders and citizens, will meet to draw up a new climate change strategy.
So what is 'COP26'? The Conference of the Parties, or COP, is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its 195 member countries meet annually for 2 weeks to, in theory, get to grips with the climate crisis. The '26' demonstrates that this will be the 26th such event. Seriously, this has been going on for decades...
In 2015, in Paris, a big step was taken where all the member states signed up to an agreement to aim to limit warming to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels (avoiding some of the most catastrophic impact, but still harming many people and ecosystems). BUT the agreement involved very little in the way of practical commitments to decarbonise or to transfer wealth from richer, heavily polluting countries to poorer nations who are suffering the impacts of climate change. The pledges that were made would set the world on a course not for 1.5C warming, but around 3.5C. The usefulness of Paris depended on increasing these commitments at subsequent meetings. Especially around taking action right now, not just setting long-term targets.
Spoiler: this process (ratcheting up commitments) hasn't really happened. While the US announcing it would pull out of the Paris agreement hasn't helped, governments around the world have comprehensively failed to take real action on the climate crisis. Last December's summit in Madrid was not a success. Can people power shift the deadlock in Glasgow?
Read more about COP26 and climate justice
Campaign against Climate Change is part of a civil society coalition coming together to mobilise mass action around COP26 - we'll post further updates throughout the year.
A good place to start thinking about local action are the climate summits and meetings such as those coming up in Bristol (29 Feb), Manchester (29 Feb), Newcastle (5 March), Sheffield (7 March), East London (14 March)
Model motion for trade unions
This union branch notes:
1. Recent climate change related extreme weather events across the globe: unprecedented wildfires in Australia, severe droughts in parts of Africa, unprecedented floods not just here in the UK but causing death and displacement in countries such as Indonesia, and more intense and damaging hurricanes.
2. The 2018 IPCC report which warned of the dire consequences of exceeding 1.5C global average warming and that a societal transformation would be needed to avoid this, halving global carbon emissions by 2030; that despite this, global emissions have continued to rise.
3. That wealthy, industrialised countries have a responsibility to lead the way; that the UK's target of net zero by 2050 is insufficient, and that the government is failing to implement policies to meet even this target.
3. The UK is hosting the UN COP26 talks in Glasgow in November 2020. Following the failure of the Madrid summit to agree meaningful action in 2019, this will be a major opportunity to call for urgent, ambitious action on climate change.
4. 2019 saw unprecedented levels of protest over environmental issues. From the climate strikes to Extinction Rebellion, hundreds of thousands of people are demanding action on climate change.
5. September 20 2019 saw the biggest climate strike yet, with the active support of many trade unions including the TUC; that climate strikes are ongoing, the next being on March 13th 2020, with 3 April 2020 a global day of action.
This union branch resolves:
To support the forthcoming climate strikes.
To inform our members of local climate strikes and protests and if appropriate to send a speaker and our union banner.
To support calls for a Green New Deal and One Million Climate Jobs.
To join the national mobilisations for protests during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2020.
To send a delegation to Glasgow / To donate towards the costs of trade union transport to Glasgow / To donate towards the costs of members wishing to join protests in Glasgow.
To call for the public ownership and democratic control of the entire energy system as part of the demand for a Just Transition to a zero carbon economy.
To send this motion to our regional and national organisation.
To invite speakers from the Campaign against Climate Change and the Climate Strikes to discuss the question of climate change and the mobilisations in 2020.
To affiliate to the Campaign against Climate Change