COP26 Explained


The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021, but what is it all about? 

Local Zero COP26

The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26.


Around the world storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution sadly affects the health of tens ofmillions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods too. But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating good jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth.

Despite the opportunities we are not acting fast enough. To avert this crisis, countries need to join forces urgently.

For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits - called COPs - which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. 'In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, COP26 takes place in Glasgow.



Activity at a COP takes place in two different zones - the Blue Zone and the Green Zone.

The Blue Zone is for people registered with the UN body tasked with coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In the Blue Zone you might be part of a national delegation, work for the United Nations and related organisations & agencies or be a member of the media or non-profit observer organisation.

In the Blue Zone, delegates from countries meet for both formal negotiations and informal consultations. They may also take part in meetings with other delegations to clarify their position and interests with the aim of reaching agreement or overcoming a negotiating deadlock. The UNFCCC will also host a range of events, including technical briefings, to support the negotiations process.

The Green Zone is for the general public. There will be a wide range of events, including workshops, art exhibitions and installations, as well as presentations, demonstrations of technology and musical performances for everyone to attend.



The Paris Agreement was agreed at COP21 in 2015. For the first time ever it saw almost every country around the world enter into a legally binding commitment to reduce emissions.

It was ‘top down’ in that every country – no matter how big or small – signed up to cutting carbon emissions to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and ideally to 1.5 degrees above pre- industrial levels; and it was ‘bottom up’ in that it left room for each individual country to decide how they would get there. These were called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The Paris Agreement also set out ambitious goals on adaptation and
on finance, recognising that many people around the world are already experiencing the impacts of a changingclimate, and that support - financial, technical and capacity building - would be needed.



At 2 degrees of global warming, there would be wides- pread and severe impacts on people and nature. A third of the world’s population would be regularly exposed to severe heat, leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths.

Almost all warm water coral reefs would be destroyed, and the Arctic sea ice would melt entirely at least one summer per decade, with devastating impacts on the wildlife and com- munities they support. We cannot rule out the possibility that irreversible loss of ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic could be triggered, leading to several metres of sea level rise over centuries to come.

At 1.5°C, the impacts would be serious, but less severe. There would be lower risks of food and water shortages, lower risks to economic growth and fewer species at risk of extinction. Threats to human health from air pollution, disease, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat would also be lower. That is why every fraction of a degree of warming matters, and why we are dedicated to keeping the prospect of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive.


We all have a part to play to tackle climate change. No matter how insignificant we feel our own lifestyles may be, we can assure you that collectively, our actions, no matter how small can have BIG impact on our planet.

The ethos of Local Zero is that changing just one small thing, can have a huge knock on effect, and we hope that if we can encourage just a handful of people in Hampshire to shop more sustainably, then we will have a positive effect on our local community and the environment. 

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