Glasgow skyline over river clyde

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), hosted in Glasgow in November 2021, is the first opportunity since the signing of the Paris Agreement for countries to set out more ambitious plans for tackling climate change.

With the UK government as host, our academic community is mobilising its collective expertise to help drive ambition.

Members of the Imperial College London delegation are preparing to attend the two-week conference in Glasgow, where they will share their expertise to help decision-makers deliver increased ambition on developing policies to address climate change.

New report: Transport must shift gear to save climate, says new report ahead of COP26

In the week leading up to the UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow (pictured above), Imperial College London has published a new report, titled ‘Research pathways for net-zero transport‘.

This new report from Imperial’s Grantham Institute and Energy Futures Lab explores what reaching net zero emissions in the transport sector might look like, by isolating the key changes that will need to take place, and where more research can play an essential role in decarbonising how we travel.

Dr Drew Pearce, the report’s lead author, says: “As our report outlines, a systems-wide approach must be used to unpick every facet of our society if we are to put the brakes on the climate crisis and limit the devastating harm to all living beings on our planet.”

Read all the latest news about climate change and the environment research, education and innovation at the Grantham Institute news pages and keep up to date with the latest from Imperial College London at COP26 on Twitter using the hashtag #ImperialAtCOP26.

View all events and activities by Imperial College London at COP26

Digital exhibit: Grantham Climate Art Prize 2021

5-14 November, on digital displays in the Blue Zone throughout COP26

The winning murals of the Grantham Climate Art Prize 2021 will be digitally displayed in the Blue Zone throughout the two weeks of the conference. The runner up designs, images of the completed murals and photographs of some of UK Youth for Nature’s murals will also be displayed. Seven Grantham Climate Art Prize murals designed by young people and painted by professional artists have been painted around the UK, visit the Glasgow mural (pictured) at SWG3 railway arches.

Showcase: UK Universities’ Climate Innovation Showcase

1-12 November, The Ramshorn, University of Strathclyde 

The University of Strathclyde will be hosting an exhibition of climate-related research, as well as a series of events, which have been curated by the COP26 Universities Network. The showcase consists of a sample of the innovative work going on at universities in the UK, showcasing the creativity and endeavour of researchers to develop new ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, adapt life to the changing climate, help us to better understand the nature of the climate and its impacts, and inform action.

Comments: Daily Dial-in

1 November, broadcast live the Crowd Studios at COP26

Each morning, over the fortnight of COP26, The Crowd will be hosting daily dial-ins with various business commentators to dissect the emerging themes and discussions from the conference, and what they mean in terms of tangible action, impact and opportunity for businesses. You can dial in to each session live over Zoom, or listen back via our podcast series which will be released through the week. On 1 November, as the World Leaders’ Summit convenes for the conference, commentators will reflect on the fortnight ahead. This event features former Grantham Institute Co-Director Professor Joanna Haigh.

Event: A fair and inclusive transition

3 November, 10:30-12:30, broadcast live from the Green Zone

This event, broadcast live from The Bothy at the heart of the Green Zone, will explore a fair and inclusive transition to net zero, co-created and co-presented by young people from LGBT Youth Scotland. Naked Energy, Grantham Institute’s very first climate innovation start-up, will be participating in this event.

Stand: Solar heat

1-4 November, Green Zone

Naked Energy, Grantham Institute’s very first climate innovation start-up, will be exhibiting and representing solar heat and power in the Green Zone. They will be meeting and chatting to attendees about innovative and renewable solutions for decarbonising the energy sector, between 1-4 November and their exhibition will be open to the public for the duration of the conference.

Panel event: The role of science in a successful net-zero transition

4 November, 16:30-17:30, WMO-IPCC Pavillion in the Blue Zone

The event will share knowledge of how science can drive the net-zero transition forward, including through exploration of scientific advancements that support the shift to clean energy systems. It asks why have we failed to bend the emissions curve over the past three decades? How can we mobilise science, human ingenuity and knowledge better to deliver net-zero in communities and homes? This event is organised by the Grantham Institute and featured Climate Outreach’s Director of Programmes & Research, Dr Amiera Sawas and opening comments from the Met Office’s Professor Jason Lowe.

Panel event: Climate action: how innovation can have an impact at home, on travel and food

5 November, 10:00-11:00, online, as part of COP26 Universities Innovation Showcase

There are a wide range of climate innovations that play an important role in enabling individuals to take meaningful and impactful climate action, that are not known to the wider public. In this event, hosted by Imperial’s centre for climate change innovation, a panel of experts will present a thought provoking and timely discussion on how individuals can have meaningful impact on climate action and get insights on how innovation can make a difference at home, on travel and food. Chaired by Dr Ian Mabbett (Swansea University). Speakers include Dr Marc Stettler (Imperial College London), Dr Anna Mavrogianni (UCL) and Professor Angela Karp (Rothamsted Research).

Official side event: Multi-level action for biodiversity and climate: Planetary challenge and lessons from Latin America

5 November, 11:30-12:45, Blue Zone

This multi-stakeholder event focuses on strengthening biodiversity and climate linkages through joint research, policy and action. Research is presented that tracks practitioners’ experience in nature protection with examples of ecosystem-based adaptation finance and green recovery in Latin America. Organised by Grantham Institute, Synergies and the University of York (Canada). 

Event: Communicating climate risk: what do you need? And some tips from experts

5 November, 16:30-17:30, Science Pavilion (Blue Zone)

Climate research is providing invaluable evidence that helps us understand climate risks, which can guide and motivate climate change action on both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. This session will share some of the latest climate risks with the audience, and share tips about what good science communication can look like. The COP26 Universities Network is the organiser and Imperial’s Courtnae Bailey is speaking.

Panel event: Green career pathways

7 November, 09:30-10:30, in-person at the Science Show Theatre (Green Zone) and online

This COP26 Universities Network event examines and debates the roles of education, training and employment in delivering a resilient and equitable transition to net zero. Following a keynote presentation the expert panel will provide insights into navigating a green career pathway. Panellists will discuss the challenges their sectors face in terms of education, skills and jobs in a climate emergency, and the actions required to deliver green career pathways that ensure a fair and economy-wide alignment with the Paris climate goals. 

Official side event: We need to talk about mental health in a changing climate

9 November, 12:00-13:30, in person and online

As part of the Resilience Hub at COP26, this event on mental health will explore the impact climate change has on our minds and how to use our emotions, passions, and skills to implement meaningful climate action. The event is being led by Imperial College London’s Climate Cares team, a collaboration between the Institute of Global Health Innovation and the Grantham Institute.

Event: 1.5°C: where are we now, where are we headed, what are the risks?

10 November, 11:30-12:45, Side event studio Glen Affric

This event, organised by the Grantham Institute, presents the 2021 rebound in carbon emissions from the Global Carbon Project and considers the following:

  • What does this mean for the 1.5°C ambition?
  • What are the impacts and risks of continued warming?
  • How can we build greater resilience to those risks?

Speakers include Professor Pierre FriedlingsteinProfessor Piers Forster and Professor Rosalind Cornforth. Further information will be available on the Grantham Institute’s Imperial at COP26 webpage in the near future.

Event: ActNowFilm – Youth voices on climate

11 November, 13:30-14:30, Science Theatre (Green Zone)

The ActNowFilm is an official COP26 Universities Network project, featuring young people from around the world talking about their lived experiences of climate change, their hopes and fears, their climate pledges and their demands of the negotiators. This 30 minute film will debut at this event and will be paired with a panel discussion by some of those involved in its creation, talking about the importance of youth climate voices and how the film was made. The session will be introduced by Grantham Institute’s Alyssa Gilbert, COP26 Universities Chair Lead, and closed by Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero, and will feature contributors to the film.

Comments: Daily Dial-in

12 November, broadcast live the Crowd Studios at COP26

Each morning, over the fortnight of COP26, The Crowd will be hosting daily dial-ins with various business commentators to dissect the emerging themes and discussions from the conference, and what they mean in terms of tangible action, impact and opportunity for businesses. You can dial in to each session live over Zoom, or listen back via our podcast series which will be released through the week. On the last day of the conference, commentators will reflect on the key messages and actions for businesses to take away from COP26. This event features IPCC Working Group III co-chair, Imperial’s Professor Jim Skea.

Visit the Grantham Institute’s Imperial at COP26 webpage to stay up to date with Imperial news and events. For a list of Green Zone events, open to the public at the Glasgow Science Centre, see the COP26 Events Programme. COP26 is also the first COP to have a Science Pavilion at COP, which has a programme of events.

And finally…

Animation: Climate change: why it matters and what needs to be done

The COP26 Universities Network, a network of over 80 universities and institutions coordinated by the Grantham Institute, have published an animation on ‘Climate change: why it matters and what needs to be done‘. Theis 6-minute animation explains the science behind climate change, the impact that climate change is having on the natural world and societies, the importance of COP26 and how you can try and make a difference.

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