COP26
The world's biggest negotiation

A series of articles by scientists and researchers centred around the Glasgow climate conference
Climate change is the greatest challenge faced by species that inhabit our planet. The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference brings together world leaders, scientific experts and political decision-makers with the goal of aligning international interests towards achieving the terms of the Paris Agreement – in particular, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Start here for comprehensive, evidence-based coverage of the summit and its ramifications from researchers and academics from around the world. Amid a rising tide of climate news and stories, The Conversation is here to clear the air and make sure you get information you can trust.

What’s the point of this year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow?

What’s the point of this year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow?
Federica Genovese, University of Essex; Patrick Bayer, University of Strathclyde

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Emissions

Caused by burning fossil fuels, decimating forests, generating electricity and travelling across the planet, greenhouse gas emissions – and how to curb them globally – are a central focus of COP26 discussions because of their ability to significantly alter the Earth's climate. Read more about greenhouse gas emissions.

We know how to flatten the curve of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Doing it is another matter.

How to make global emissions peak and fall
Matthew Paterson, University of Manchester

But with new commitments getting made by governments all over the world, we hope to see this progress improve soon.

More livestock, more carbon dioxide, less ice: the world’s climate change progress since 2019
Thomas Newsome, University of Sydney; Christopher Wolf, Oregon State University; William Ripple, Oregon State University

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Experts take you inside the fight for our future planet

Explore some of the big issues feeding into the COP26 negotiations:

  • net zero – and the technology needed to get there
  • trade-offs – required to transition away from fossil fuels, particularly for those communities hit hardest by the shift to renewables
  • money – and how much the world's richest countries should give to protect the poorest parts of the world
  • young people – impact their voices are having on the climate fight
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Renewables

Energy derived from renewable sources – like the sun, wind, tides and rivers – is key to reducing worldwide carbon emissions and protecting the health of our planet. But while clean power is hailed as the answer to energy crises, governments will need to honour their commitments if we are to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Read more about renewables.

To dos

The more we see our environment as a part of us, the more we're driven to protect it. Transforming the small spaces around us into havens where the natural world can flourish can positively impact local ecosystems in ways that ripple out further than we can imagine: keep reading for our experts' suggestions.

We need scientists and experts in the public domain now more than ever before

90,000 academics and researchers have written for The Conversation. Their articles are fact-based, free of jargon and free to read.

The Conversation is an expert-led, independent, non-profit news outlet.

We make our articles free to be republished. They have appeared in the Guardian, Le Monde, Washington Post, El País, Daily Mail, National Geographic, Wired, Scientific American and others in 97 countries. More.

Our forests

In a world that's lost one third of its forests, it's more vital now than ever to protect what remains. Forests not only act as giant carbon sinks offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, they're also home to countless endangered and undiscovered species. They also purify air and water and fortify soil against erosion. Read more about our forests.

Climate crisis: what can trees really do for us?

Climate crisis: what can trees really do for us?
Rob MacKenzie, University of Birmingham; Rose Pritchard, University of Manchester

Avoiding further loss and degradation of primary forests and intact forest landscapes, and allowing degraded forests to naturally regrow, would reduce global carbon emissions.

Want to beat climate change? Protect our natural forests
Kate Dooley, The University of Melbourne; Brendan Mackey, Griffith University

Our oceans

Water, water everywhere – and much of it filled with plastic. Our mistreatment of Earth's oceans has slashed biodiversity, damaged irreplaceable coral reefs and polluted our source of water. To build a better relationship with these sustaining seas, we must protect what remains for the sake of all life across our planet. Read more from our Oceans series.

We analysed data from 29,798 clean-ups around the world to uncover some of the worst litter hotspots

We analysed data from 29,798 clean-ups around the world to uncover some of the worst litter hotspots
Lauren Roman, CSIRO; Britta Denise Hardesty, CSIRO; Chris Wilcox, CSIRO

Marine protected areas will be important for achieving the ocean Sustainable Development Goals.

How marine protected areas help safeguard the ocean
Julie Reimer
, Memorial University of Newfoundland

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