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Climate Crisis

What is COP climate summit and what happens?

Leaders from all around the globe will arrive in Glasgow in November for COP26 to discuss solutions to climate change.

Extreme weather patterns are destroying people's homes and ability to earn a living. Climate change is a major concern for the future of the IRC’s mission to serve people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict and disaster. The climate crisis is already happening in the places IRC works, driving conflict, displacement and suffering.

What is COP and why is it important?

COP is an international climate summit.

Every year, world leaders gather to discuss climate change at COP, which stands for Conference of the Parties. Since 1995, the United Nations has brought together 190 countries to agree on how to tackle climate change.

This year is the 26th meeting, hence the name: COP26. The UK is hosting the summit which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland.

It’s the first time the UK has hosted COP, which was supposed to happen last year but had to be postponed because of COVID-19. As time runs out to turn back the clocks, COP26 is a critical opportunity to take meaningful action to tackle reducing global emissions and support countries who are already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change.

When and where is COP?

COP26 will take place at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow over 12 days from 1 November to 12 November 2021.

Aerial view of Glasgow, Scotland

Leaders from around the world will meet in Glasgow to discuss how to tackle climate change

Who will be at COP?

Leaders from all around the globe, representing the 190 members of the United Nation, will arrive in Scotland for COP26.  Greta Thunberg, Pope Francis, US President Joe Biden and Sir David Attenborough are all expected to attend. The Queen was expected but recenly announced she is unable to attend.

Environment ministers, civil servants, negotiators and businesses as well as members of the public will also be there to attend talks at the Scottish Event Campus. Over 25,000 people in total are expected to be at COP26.

What happens during COP?

During COP, governments set climate change targets. They will be asked to submit long-term goals to address the climate emergency.

Key targets include reaching global net-zero, protecting vulnerable communities and habitats and securing investment and funding for climate financing.

The UK will use the opportunity to outline what it’s doing to reduce climate change and lower carbon, too.

“Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

What is the Paris Agreement and what does it have to do with COP?

In 2015, at COP21, a breakthrough happened. For the first time, every country agreed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees and invest in climate action.  This was called the Paris Agreement. An update on progress on the Paris Agreement is expected every five years.

The IRC is calling on world leaders at COP26

Governments must commit to increasing climate funding. Countries like the UK, who have been the largest contributors to climate change, should agree on actions and investments and prioritises fragile and conflict-affected countries, who have contributed least, but suffer the most acute impacts of the climate crisis.

We're also calling on countries to deliver the Gender Action Plan which was agreed at the previous COP25 to make sure money reaches grassroots women-led and women rights organisations. 

How is the IRC working to tackle climate change?

The IRC is committed to responding to the impacts of climate change on the communities we serve. The IRC helps communities respond to the changing climate by mapping weather patterns and developing early warning systems, supporting local initiatives to manage natural resources and conserve water, and training in sustainable livelihoods. Throughout all this work, as a feminist organisation, we put the needs of women and girls - who are often disproportionately affected - at the centre of our programmes.

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