Social Responsibility and Sustainability

The University of Edinburgh at COP 26

Find out how the University of Edinburgh will contribute to COP 26, building on our contributions to previous COPs.

University staff with representatives from Ecuador at the COP 25 conference in Madrid, December 2019.
University staff with Minister-President of the Galápagos Governing Council, Norman Wray, to launch the zero-carbon vision for the Galapagos Islands, at COP 25 in Madrid, December 2019.

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

Follow the University's involvement in COP 26 using the hashtag #EdinUniCOP26.

Research

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.

Find out about the impact of our research

COP26 side events

Our wide array of climate change-related research is also showcased at side-events through research initiatives and collaborations. These include enhancing resilience of vulnerable areas and sectors, cutting emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change, and climate change interactions with major ecosystems and biomes, such as the oceans.  For the COP, a significant role for us 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.

Our flagship side event this year is "Green Career Pathways", an event examining the roles of education, training, and employment in delivering a resilient and equitable transition to net zero.

Attend "Green Career Pathways" online, Sunday 7 Nov 9:30am - 10:30am

Advocacy

COP26 Universities Network

In 2020, the University became a member of the COP26 Universities Network: a group of over 40 UK Universities working together to assist all COP decisionmakers to stay on track to deliver a low-carbon, resilient world by easing access to evidence and academic expertise and taking action themselves.

Read COP26 University Network briefings

Observing negotiations

Student Dhruti CHAKRAVARTHI
Student Dhruti Chakravarthi attended COP25 as an observer

As observers at the COP our main interaction is simply to be able to observe international negotiations and give students and staff the opportunity to experience the process in the so-call ‘blue zone’ where these negotiations take place. Some of our alumni are involved directly in these negotiations, representing specific nations. More widely, we use the COPs as a basis to reflect on what international climate policy means for the advice we give to the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as to city level initiatives and for our own institution of course.

Observer passes

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are able to apply for observer passes so they can attend the conference. Every year a number of University staff and students attend in this way; it’s a great way to understand the workings of a COP and meet individuals from across the world.

September 2021: Registration for observer passes has now closed and we will shortly find out who has been successful.

Do you have a role at COP26 already? Let us know by emailing cop26@ed.ac.uk.

Analysis

Much of our analysis of COPs is focussed on their implications for the UK and Scotland. The many side events also give us an opportunity to assess where new research and teaching partnerships could be developed and where the University of Edinburgh can have the greatest positive impact both locally and globally on climate change.

Find out more

If you have any questions regarding the University's involvement in COP26 or our own COP26 activities, please email cop26@ed.ac.uk

The University's response to the climate crisis

The climate crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity, and the University is committed to continuing to play a leading role in creating a more sustainable world through its research, teaching and operations.

Find out more about how the University is working to tackle climate change as part of its social and civic responsibility.

University response to the Climate Crisis

Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

Edinburgh Earth Initiative 

Edinburgh Climate Compact

Strategy 2030: Social and Civic Responsibility

UN Sustainable Development Goals