UCL at COP26: latest updates and expert comment

Climate experts from across UCL are at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow as observers and delegation members, with teams of academics also monitoring and providing expert commentary from London.

Contact UCL Media Relations  or tweet @UCLNews to connect.

Will the summit be a good Cop26?

The fact that the Paris agreement exists in international law provides a safety net for Glasgow and means that "this Cop can’t actually fail," says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography). Read: Times (£)

Shipping faces storm over fuel emissions

The International Maritime Organisation is under fire for slow progress on climate targets as "the political salience of shipping is very, very low," says Dr Tristan Smith (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources).  Read: FT (£)

At Cop26 the stage is set for a battle over the next phase of capitalism

We need to view the Cop26 talks as a struggle among three blocs of countries, companies and protest movements, writes Professor Simon Lewis (UCL Geography).  Read: Guardian

Mankind is not trapped in a deadly game with the Earth - there are ways out

Professor David Wengrow’s (UCL Institute of Archaeology) new book, The Dawn of Everything, challenges our view of history and argues catastrophe is not foretold.  Read: Guardian

What is the Paris Agreement on climate change and why is it important?

The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 by almost every global nation with the aim of tackling climate change but Julia Kreienkamp (UCL Political Science) says the Paris accord "relies more on peer pressure and reputational costs."  Read: Telegraph (£)

Climate experts warn world leaders 1.5C is ’real science’, not just talking point

Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) said, "the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2018 made the science very clear: there are significant climate impacts all round the world even if we limit warming to 1.5C."  Read: Guardian

Post-Brexit trading with countries further afield could ramp us UK emissions 88 per cent

Professor Paul Ekins (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) urged the government to look at ways to improve trading arrangement with EU nations, as it makes both commercial and environmental sense.  Read: City AM

Thousands of passengers left stranded at Euston Station after train journeys suspended

Professor Simon Lewis (UCL Geography) was one of the passengers who experienced a delayed train and said it was "reminder that climate change drives extreme weather events and every country needs to adapt."  Read: Evening Standard ,  More: Mail Online ,  Scotsman


Rich nations must stick to promise to help poorer countries fight climate change

"Cop26 must secure the funding arrangements agreed in 2009, and ratified in 2010, for a fund of at least $100bn per annum from the world’s developed economics to support the least developed countries transition to a low carbon economy," says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography).  Read: Independent

The immediate need for a carbon tax

A kilogram of coffee beans delivered to the UK has a typical footprint of about 15 kilograms of CO2 but if farmed and shipped more sustainably, the footprint is 3.5 kilograms, says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography).  Read: FT (£)


What’s at stake at the COP26 climate summit

"What we are looking for in Glasgow is not more statements and commitments, but credible plans that we can scrutinise," said Professor Chris Rapley (UCL Earth Sciences).  Read: Guardian


Sunak delivers ’climate-void’ budget

"With the globally important climate change conference, COP26, starting next week in Glasgow you’d have expected the budget to be a climate budget. But there was no mention of climate at all," says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography).  Read: Forbes


What is success in COP26?

Professor Simon Lews (UCL Geography) says "it’s hard to say what success will look like in the short term, but it will certainly have long term commitments of mid-century net zero targets for countries that haven’t already made them."  Listen: CBC Radio’s ’The Current’ (from 2 mins 42 secs)

Brits eager to try new climatarian diet in bid to reduce carbon footprint

Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) said "a plant-based diet can literally help to save our planet".  Read: Sun ,  More: Independent


Universities must draw more attention to climate change

"It should be the basic task of public education to teach what our problems are, local and global, and what we need to do about them," writes Nicholas Maxwell (UCL Science & Technology Studies).  Read: Guardian

Scotch whisky production risks drying up by 2080

Drastic drop in rainfall and higher temperatures due to climate change could leave distillers without crucial ingredients say UCL researchers, including Carole Roberts (UCL Geography).  Read: Telegraph (£) ,  More: Herald (Scotland),   City AM,   Listen: BBC World Service Radio’s ’The Newsroom’ (from 17 mins 6 secs) ,  More: BBC Radio 2’s ’News at 4’ (from 2 mins 59 secs)

Haze clears on heat’s effect on brain health

Professor Sanjay Sisodiya (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) says that climate change is going to be "an important challenge for people with neurological diseases."  Read: Herald (Scotland)

Heat pumps are practical and necessary

Heat pumps may be unusual in Britain, but they are a major industry and very widespread in Europe and elsewhere, writes Professor Philip Steadman (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) in a letter.  Read: Guardian

Opinion: To know if a country is serious about net zero look at its plans for extracting fossil fuel

Climate negotiations should focus on fossil fuel production rather than greenhouse gas emissions, argues Dr Fergus Green (UCL Political Science). Read: The Conversation


COP26 can identify action to ameliorate climate risk

We need to identify specific climate risk factors for specific locations and act in support of everyone to reduce risks, write Professor Ilan Kelman (UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction) and Professor Debarati Guha-Sapir.  Read: FT (£)

Leading climate scientists tell PM to end new oil and gas deals ahead of summit

70 climate scientists from around the world, including Dr James Price and Dr Michael Fell (both UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) have called on Boris Johnson to bring an end to new oil and gas development in the UK ahead of the Cop26 climate summit.  Read: Independent


UK to push plan to ’halt and reverse global deforestation by 2030’ at Cop26

Professor Simon Lewis (UCL Geography) comments on the need for urgent action to mitigate deforestation, saying that "countries should adopt declining budgets for the total footprint of agriculture they use".  Read: The Guardian About this page: The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November 2021. With so much climate action occurring globally this is set to be one of the most important climate summits in history.

UCL researchers and academics are at the core of UK and global climate research and are giving their expert insights to media throughout and following on from the COP26 UN climate summit. 

We have a whole community of people working on climate change at UCL to look at the challenge from every possible angle, and as such, we play a critical role in influencing decision-makers to implement effective climate change policies. Explore our COP26 page to find out more about how UCL research is influencing the COP26 process.

Here at UCL in the Media, we feature the work of UCL colleagues who are providing critical advice and expert comment on climate change and the COP26 negotiations through TV, radio, print and online news sources.