What are COP26 and the Green Zone?

Everything you need to know about the United Nations Climate Change Conference

By United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Water turbines by Nicholas DohertyUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

COP stands for Conference of the Parties.

Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU). 

The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, in partnership with Italy, is the 26th meeting of the Parties.

Glacier by Annie-SprattUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

What Happens at COP?

Activity at a COP takes place in two different zones: the Blue Zone and the Green Zone. Delegates from around the world meet for both formal negotiations and informal consultations with other delegations, UN agencies and non-profit organisations.

Space4climate – now and in the futureUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

The Blue Zone

The Blue Zone is for people registered with the UN body tasked with coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change – the UNFCCC.

Woods by Eduard DelputteUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

The Green Zone

The Green Zone is delivered by the COP’s host country (called the Presidency). In Glasgow the UK Government has created a space for youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, and business to host events, exhibitions, cultural performances, workshops and talks.

Amazon Rainforest by Alexander GerstUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

What do we need to achieve at COP26?

Secure Global Net Zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees of global warming within reach. To do this, countries will need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.

Floods affect people, a house almost submerged, family members on the roof and in a small coracle. (2020-07-16) by Moniruzzaman Sazal / Climate Visuals CountdownUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Adapt to Protect Communities and Natural Habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce carbon emissions, with devastating effects. We need to work together to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient.

Urban centre covered in Smog in winter, high volume of pollution from coal fired sources in the city centre. (2020-05-06) by Raunaq Chopra / Climate Visuals CountdownUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Mobilise Finance

To realise our first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. We need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

A group of men in a rural valley, using working horses to move felled timber, in traditional forest management. (2016-09-17) by Ondrej Kameniar / Climate Visuals CountdownUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Work Together to Deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of climate change by working together. At COP26 we must finalise the Paris Rulebook and, we have to turn our ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver climate goals faster.

Sustaining forests and lives, Thiago Jesus, 2020, From the collection of: United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26
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Destructive downpour, a rickshaw being pulled through ankle deep water in a street., Debarshi Mukherjee / Climate Visuals Countdown, 2017-10-20, From the collection of: United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26
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Collecting razor clams before dawn, a Quinault Indian with a lantern digging in wet sand for a staple of the traditional diet, clams., Michael Snyder / Climate Visuals Countdown, 2021-06-30, From the collection of: United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26
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Family Portrait, 2020, From the collection of: United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26
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Explore the Green Zone on Google Arts and Culture and think about what you can do, how you can make your voice heard, how you can become part of something bigger. Collectively we can seize this opportunity, choose a positive future for our planet and ensure our world flourishes for future generations. 

#TogetherforOurPlanet

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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