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What do we need to know about COP26?

Aug 25, 2021

What is COP26?

COP is the United Nations climate change conference. It has been running for nearly three decades to bring together almost every country in the world for global climate summits – referred to as ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP). It has been pivotal in making climate change a global priority and is responsible for the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty to limit global warming to below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. Under the Paris Agreement, all committed countries must regularly report on their emissions and how they’re reducing them. In addition, it was agreed that a collective assessment of progress would take place every 5-years, and an updated plan of action will be derived.

In November this year, COP26 is taking place in Glasgow and marks the 26th annual summit. It will see 190 world leaders and tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens arriving in Scotland for 12 days of discussions. This year is a particularly momentous summit as it marks the 5-year period whereby countries will amend their climate action plans to reduce emissions. Although significant climate action has taken place across the world, action needs to be increased to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. COP26 could therefore see greater commitments to low-carbon solutions and a catalyst for driving economic and social change.

Embarking on Change

Forestry plays a crucial role in the climate change conversation and has the potential to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. This can be done through protecting old-growth and biodiverse forests, expanding and connecting resilient woodland areas, and developing sustainable timber production to meet rising demand.

The conversations and decisions that roll out of COP26 will undoubtedly affect how forestry is done in Scotland. In turn, foresters and land managers can be part of the solution to the climate crisis and COP26 is an important opportunity to demonstrate this. This is the chance for Scotland and beyond to lead on climate action and for all those in forestry to come together to show the world what healthy, ecologically sound forest management and land-use change looks like.

Want to know more about COP26?

International climate summits are complex. If you want to understand more, here’s a few places to start:

  1. UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 –
  2. IPCC Special Report – Climate Change and Land –