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One year until COP 26

  • 30 October 2020
The 1 November marks one year until COP 26. But what exactly is it?

COP 26 sounds like a cousin of R2-D2 from Star Wars. While it is not a fictional robot, it is still something to be interested in.

This is because it is an opportunity for heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to come together and agree on how to respond to the climate emergency.

But it is also an opportunity for you to raise your voice.

The History of the COP

COP stands for the Climate Change Conference of the Parties. It is hosted by the United Nations (UN). There have been 26 COPs to date, hence COP 26.

It exists as part of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is an international treaty which acknowledges the existence of climate change and recognises it is caused by human activities.

From this convention, the COP was formed. The COP has met every year since 1995 and has made historical deals between global leaders to help tackle climate change. These include the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Why does this matter?

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis says, “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all.”

This is what the COP does. It facilitates a conversation about climate change and creates solutions to mitigate and adapt to the effects.

COP 26 is crucial, as the decisions made at this event will affect every person on the planet. The UK government also have a big part to play in these decisions as the country hosting the global event.

However, you probably are not a head of state or a climate expert. You might not even consider yourself a climate campaigner, but you can still get involved. Your voice matters.

What can you do?

It is vital to put pressure on the current UK government to take more action on climate change ahead of COP 26.

Jesuit Missions is part of the Climate Coalition, which has drawn up a petition for Prime Minister, Boris Johnston. The petition encourages him to have the UK lead the world at COP 26, by ensuring our recovery gets us on track to net-zero emissions and limits the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees.

The petition needs as many signatures as possible to make an impact. You can sign it here.

Express yourself

We want to know why climate change matters to you?

We would love you to express this in the most creative way possible.

Perhaps you can answer this question in a poem, or painting? A sculpture or a sketch? Compose a piece of music or perform a dance?

Send a picture of your work, with your name and why climate change matters to you, to

Over the next few months, we will be gathering art pieces together from Jesuit schools, parishes and supporters.

Jesuit Missions will collate this collection of work and present it to politicians ahead of COP26, demonstrating the need for creative thinking as the world addresses the climate crisis.