COP26 is the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change and was held from 31st October to 12th November 2021 in Glasgow.
The University of Exeter will be attending COP26, “helping to address the urgent issue of climate change by engaging with an ecosystem of disciplines, voices and solutions”. The University is a world-leader in environmental sustainability and climate change research and is helping to identify how the UK’s 2050 net zero climate change goal can be achieved. Exeposé reached out to Tim Lenton, Director of the Global Systems Institute at Exeter University for a comment. Lenton stated that “it’s great to see a big group from the University of Exeter at COP26” and “there’s been huge interest in our work on climate tipping points and on the positive social tipping points that can accelerate climate action”. Lenton hosted a talk on climate tipping points earlier on in the week and has cautioned that the earth is a “system losing resilience, losing its ability to recover from perturbations, before it loses stability altogether”.
Lily Margaroli, President of the Students Guild will is also be in attendance along with five Exeter students. Margaroli has been documenting her experience of COP26 on her Instagram stories @exepresident in which she has announced her excitement “to meet lots of other people who are passionate about taking action against climate change!” and that “there are lots of networking events for young people” and that she is “hoping to learn a lot from these and bring back some of the initiatives…to Exeter”.
The University of Exeter has granted a selection of students with Blue Zone passes which provides access to all the talks, events and exhibition areas as well as access to the Scottish Events Campus which is where the COP26 negotiations will take place.
Emma de Saram, a third-year history student who has been selected to attend COP26 with Exeter University, told Exeposé that “COP26 is important to me because it is the last chance for humanity [to combat climate change] with 200 world leaders coming together to hopefully keep global warming below 1.5 degrees”. Emma also stated that COP26 is reflective of “all the hard work that mainly young people have been doing” and that “every little thing you do all adds up and it’s where the fruits of our labour will be shown”. When asked how she thought the Government should respond to climate change, Emma cited “responding to climate change with radical policies that focus not just on cutting carbon emissions but transitioning to a sustainable economy…this looks like nationalising the rail, improving public transport and increasing minimum wage so that people have more time to engage in climate change projects”.
Stevie Preece, the President of the Falmouth and Exeter Penryn Student Union who is also attending COP26, told Exeposé: “To be here at the COP26 conference is an experience I am incredibly grateful for. Immersing myself in heated discussions and learning from the research of international climate scientists has enriched my knowledge of the climate crisis to a critically alarming level. We need to act right now because it’s already happening and will only get worse.”