In November 2021, the UK will be hosting the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP26.

Infographic advertising the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021

More about COP26

Since 1995, world governments have met every year to negotiate a response to global climate change. These 197 nations and territories, signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, are represented at the Conference of the Parties (COP), responsible for reviewing the implementation of the Convention. This year will be the 26th meeting of the COP, hence COP26.

The two week conference in Glasgow will involve around 200 presidents and prime ministers and some 30,000 delegates reporting back on progress since the Paris Agreement and, hopefully, making some new decisions on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impact that climate change is already having.

COP26 and the University of Leeds 

Research and innovation from the University of Leeds can contribute to important discussions and negotiations taking place in the run up to COP26 and during the summit in Glasgow. The University has Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Observer Status of the UNFCCC - the framework that underpins the COP26 summit. In November 2021, we will be sending a delegation of researchers to the conference. We want to highlight the best climate-related research outputs from the University on the global stage. We also want to celebrate our ambitious net-zero commitments and explore opportunities to extend this ambition not only on campus, but also locally, nationally and internationally.

Find out how Leeds researchers are helping to make the upcoming climate summit a success, to shift the world rapidly to net-zero emissions and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Meet our COP26 Fellows

Two researchers from the University of Leeds have been awarded prestigious COP26 Fellowships, working to support the international climate negotiations through the provision, synthesis, translation or interpretation of scientific evidence.

Dr Harriet Thew 

Harriet will be investigating how young people can drive forward a just transition towards net-zero and contribute to a green recovery from COVID-19, through her project titled YES TO Net Zero (Youth, Education, Skills and Training to Operationalise Net Zero).

Dr Stephen Whitfield

Stephen will be focusing on equity and justice in the transformation of agricultural systems. Working with key stakeholders, Stephen will highlight recommendations for embedding equitable and just governance within these processes of radical change.


Hear members of the University of Leeds delegation discuss their planned activities and hopes for the negotiations.


Leeds researchers offer an overview of the UNFCCC, COP, and the role Leeds can play in the run up to COP26.
Recordings from our week of events that focused on climate action across different scales and collaboration amongst a range of stakeholders.
Read our blog that was first published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.
Pre-COP26 briefing notes on how likely we are to stay within 1.5°C of warming and what we mean by a 1.5°C pathway.
Dr Martin Frick from the UNFCCC outlines the role that researchers can play in raising the ambition for climate action in the lead up to COP26.
An article from Professor Richard Beardsworth, Head of School - School of Politics and International Studies. Published by Open Access Government.
RINGO Co-Focal Point Tracy Bach highlights how researchers can most effectively engage in the UN climate change negotiations.

COP26 UK Universities Network

The University of Leeds is part of a growing group of UK-based universities working together to help deliver an ambitious outcome at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow and beyond. It aims to improve access to evidence and academic expertise for the UK Government, NGOs and the international community. Read more about the network here.

The network is publishing a series of briefings pertinent to themes of the negotiations:

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