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COP 26

COP 26 - a global conference that tackles the climate crisis - was held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Find out how ECCI and the University of Edinburgh are involved.

“COP 26” is a major United Nations climate change summit which took place in Glasgow from 1-12 November 2021 under the presidency of the UK government. Named the “26th session of the Conference of the Parties” – COP26 - the conference is an important place for countries to come together to discuss how climate change will be tackled and to agree global and national targets.

Was COP26 a success?

ECCI director Prof Dave Reay offers his reflections on the two-week long conference and the implications for the host nation in the coming months and years.

How was ECCI and the University of Edinburgh involved?

The University of Edinburgh and members of the ECCI network contribute to annual COPs in four main ways: by presenting research; through advocacy; by observing negotiations, and by analysing the discussions for various audiences.


University of Edinburgh researchers have played a pivotal role in informing global climate change mitigation policy for nearly two decades. Among the first to unequivocally demonstrate the link between human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, their research formed the scientific foundation of the Paris Agreement.

COP26 side events

A wide array of climate change-related research from the University of Edinburgh and ECCI is also showcased at side-events through research initiatives and collaborations. These include foregrounding the issue of green skills and education, cutting emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change and showcasing the importance of place-basd solutions.  For the COP, a significant role for ECCI and the University of Edinburgh is to help ensure that the latest relevant research findings are summarised in ways that will support the negotiators to make the bold commitments that are needed.

Observing negotiations

The University of Edinburgh is sending over 30 students and staff, including ECCI Director Prof Dave Reay, to COP26 to observe the negotiations and report on what they hear; follow them using the hashtag #EdinUniCOP26.

Advocacy - COP26 Universities Network

ECCI is proud to be part of the COP26 Universities Network, led on behalf of the University of Edinburgh by ECCI Director Prof Dave Reay. The COP26 Universities Network is a growing group of more than 55 UK-based universities and research centres working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from COP26.

The Network's mission is to ensure that the UK academic sector plays its role in delivering a successful conference, getting all players on track to deliver a zero-carbon, resilient world. They aim to do so by easing access to evidence and academic expertise for COP26 for government, NGOs, and other actors, and by taking action. ECCI experts have contributed to a number of recent briefing papers, exploring topics such as economic recovery from COVID-19 and guidance to support universities and colleges to develop offsetting policies as part of their net-zero strategies.

UK Universities' Climate Innovation Showcase

The showcase, which comprises an exhibition of climate-related research, as well as a series of events, has been curated by the COP26 Universities Network, an informal association of academics in the UK active on subjects related to climate change, who wanted to work together in support of the aims of the 26th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.

COP26 Blogs

Check out our countdown to COP26 blog series - profiling voices from across ECCI's community of climate experts, researchers, students and practitioners, in the lead up to the conference.

  • "I'm on a mission to put farmers at the centre of climate action" by farmer and online Carbon Innovation student Mateusz Ciasnocha
  • “I want to ensure climate change is at the heart of every business strategy” by Aman Gill-Lang, Carbon Management MSc and Impact Coordinator of Strategic Development at the Centre of Business, Climate Change and Sustainability.
  • "I witnessed firsthand the impacts of climate change from Kenya to Honduras" by ECCI Co-Director and Lecturer in Climate Risk and Resilience, Dr Kate Crowley.
  • "I want to help to make carbon offsets more impactful" by logistics expert and Carbon Management MSc graduate, Jana Schebera.

Climate Solutions MOOC

The Climate Solutions course is designed and delivered by award-winning climate change experts and educators, including ECCI's director Professor Dave Reay. It tackles the biggest challenge of our time – climate change – by giving each of us the knowledge and tools we need to make a real difference. Designed to be accessible and engaging throughout, it provides the facts you need to know about what climate change is, why COP26 is such a vital meeting and the solutions you need to know so you can be part of fighting it.

COP26 events and resources

  • ECCI-supported Green Career Pathways: Watch the Video - recorded at COP26 on Sunday 7 November 2021
  • Held 6 months before the conference, in May 2020, Climate Exp0 was the first virtual conference organised by the COP26 Universities Network and the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS).
  • The excellent COPcast series, from the University of Edinburgh Business School, featuring ECCI's Director Dave Reay (November 2020)
  • ECCI-hosted Climate, Covid and COP26 - world-renowned climate scientist and communicator Professor Katharine Hayhoe joined leading by experts from across the University of Edinburgh (June 2020)