Photo credit  |  Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

One-year countdown to COP26

News  |  01 November, 2020  |  Reading time: 4 minutes
Space4Climate is launching a one-year countdown today (01 November) to the start of COP26 – the most important climate change conference in the world, which for the first time is being hosted in the UK.

The crucial global summit – formally called the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – will take place in Glasgow from 01–12 November, 2021, co-hosted by the UK and Italy which jointly hold the COP26 Presidency.

COPs bring together world leaders from around 200 countries to agree actions, funding, ambitions or protocols to measure and tackle climate change. While the binding negotiations are undertaken by governments, the conferences also provide a focal point for scientists, academics, government officials and campaigners, along with the world’s media, to discuss the latest findings and ideas for action.

Data gathered by satellites – Earth observation (EO) – is critical to understand how our planet is changing in a warming climate; how we as a global community can mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The UK Space4Climate community is at the forefront of the creation and use of trusted climate satellite data for climate services and action and members are planning a series of events and activities up to and during COP26 to showcase the UK’s EO capabilities.

During the countdown we will highlight the UK’s world-leading role through behind-the-science articles, sharing expert insights and real-world case studies, covering three key topics:

  • Climate Research through satellite observations
  • Trusted satellite data for climate
  • Climate-action

Meeting the UK COP26 Presidency’s priorities, Space4Climate will coordinate the UK EO community highlighting its pivotal role in providing infrastructure to deliver the highest quality data through climate missions and data platforms. This includes use of space-enabled data for monitoring and calibration to deliver on all legal mandates to accelerate climate action and finalise the Paris Rulebook.

Briony Turner, Space4Climate’s Climate Services Development Manager, said:

“During the one-year countdown to COP26 we will be drawing on the expertise of our academic, industry, Third Sector and government membership to highlight the UK’s leading and collaborative roles in upcoming satellite missions, world-class academic research and showcasing actual case studies. These demonstrate the UK’s development of innovative and impactful climate services – those that are already making a difference and those in the pipeline.

“Our whole community is looking forward to sharing with the world how UK Earth observation expertise already does and will continue to underpin understanding of how our planet is changing, how we can monitor this change and how to manage the impacts.”

The UK COP26 President is Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The UK Presidency set out its priorities earlier this year as:

  1. Build back greener and more resilient
  2. Working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action
  3. Deliver on all legal mandates to accelerate climate action and finalise the Paris Rulebook
  4. Encourage all countries to come forward with ambitious 2030 climate plans while helping societies and economies adapt, particularly the most vulnerable
  5. Use the power of a fair and inclusive COP Presidency to bring governments, business and civil society together to accelerate progress in 5 key areas:
    • Adaptation and resilience
    • Nature
    • Energy
    • Transport
    • Finance

Beth Greenaway, Head of EO and Climate at the UK Space Agency, which chairs the Space4Climate group, said at the start of the one-year countdown:

“The UK Space4Climate members have strong and inspiring stories to tell about how space-enabled technology from new and novel instruments through to digital infrastructure, data analytics and quality assurance, is enabling others outside the space community to use the information for climate-related decision making in both commercial and non-commercial environments across the globe.

“I am very excited to see where the combined ambitions of its members will lead and, in particular, how COP26 will unite the world leaders to make the most of the potential of EO to reach their combined goals agreed within the Paris Agreement.”

For more on the Space4Climate countdown to COP26 follow @Space4Climate on Twitter and LinkedIn and keep watching our website.

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