Counting down to the COP26 climate change summit

Welcome to the first in our monthly ’Countdown to COP’ series, where we will be exploring climate change research, events and expertise across our University ahead of the next COP climate change summit in November.

We’re kicking-off this series with an introduction to what COP is and a look at some exciting climate-focused events our experts have taken part in recently.

What is COP?

COP stands for the UN Climate Change ’Conference of the Parties’ and this year will be the 26th annual meeting - hence the title ’COP26’.

These meetings bring together representatives from across the world to help speed up action to meet the climate change goals set out in the Paris Agreement (negotiated at COP21 in 2015) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This year the UK is hosting the summit, to be held in Glasgow, 1-12 November.

Global online Expo

In May we took part in an international online Climate Expo, highlighting the latest thinking and research which can contribute to decisions being made at COP26.

Dr Petra Minnerop from our Law School was on the organising committee for the Expo and was part of a session looking at the legal issues that need to be resolved to finalise the Paris Agreement Rulebook.

Professor Harriet Bulkeley from our Department of Geography was part of a policy roundtable sharing evidence and innovation (from the Naturvation research project) in understanding how nature-based solutions can be used to build resilience to climate risks.

The event involved over 55 universities from across the UK, including Durham, who have joined forces to create the COP26 Universities Network. You can

Climate change and finance

May also saw the launch of our online event series which will showcase research within the University, and beyond, on the various COP26 themes.

This month’s focus has been on the theme of Climate Finance, and has included experts from our Institute for Hazard, Risk and Resilience, Business School and Durham Energy Institute.

Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, Australia, opened the series with a guest lecture about the influence of the Paris Agreement in shaping climate litigation drawing on the example of the Rocky Hill Mine case (New South Wales, Australia) and the consequences for domestic law.

Other lectures covered various aspects of finance and the climate crisis including; sustainable finance and green investment; sustainable poverty reduction and climate change in vulnerable regions; and how to deliver a fair transition to a net zero society. All of the lectures are available to watch via our dedicated COP26 YouTube channel.

Coming up next

In June we will be looking at the work of our Durham Energy Institute highlighting a great project to engage Durham schools and their international partners on climate change, the COP and global perspectives, experiences and actions on climate change.


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