EAUC is at COP26 - Daily Updates

NEW -Read EAUC's post COP26 Reflections here

COP26 is in full swing with governments, the civil society, businesses, and international organisations are expected to agree on urgent action that will keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of heating, protecting people and nature from the catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. EAUC’s very own delegation is on the ground attending a wide range of events and getting involved in key discussions across several venues.


Days 1-3 - World Leaders Summit
  • The first official full day has been jam-packed with opening panel talks, protests and photo ops with one of the EAUC’s COP26 delegate, Katie Major, saying that “The passion and inspiration of David Attenborough's talk during the opening ceremony were the highlight of the day”
  • Zoe Robinson, EAUC’s Trustee, in attendance at COP26 outlined that there were some very good discussions about the need to reskill heating engineers, meaning that the engineer of the future will need to advise on all domestic energy systems. Zoe also added that it was sad to see that only 10 of the 140 world leaders at COP26 are women, but added that the amazing governance procedures that the Welsh Government are putting in place to reduce silo-ed working and enable collaborative responsibility for cross-cutting issues are worth exploring further.
  • Rebecca Petford at EAUC-Scotland attended an inspirational talk on Education and Climate Change where a range of speakers from around the world talked about their work on embedding sustainability into education.
  • Manveer Gill, Student Commissioner said "the event that stood out to me was that at the Science Pavilion, where there were a diverse set of experiences and viewpoints on embedding climate change within education in a comprehensive manner, whilst taking into account local contexts."
  • Pete Smith, EAUC Trustee shared that the most interesting aspect of the day was to notice the collaborative leadership at UK Pavilion
  • Jill Burnett at EAUC-Scotland highlighted the UKRI session as particularly interesting, based on Entocycle’s presentation on insect farming.
  • It was disappointing that Observers were not allowed to access the World Leader's Summit and are not being allowed entry to the negotiating sessions. 

Day 4 - Finance 
  • Katie Major, EAUC Climate Commissioner (Student) present at COP26 stated that learning about how our pensions are being invested in unsustainable practices was terrifying. She also shared that it was useful to talk to students based in universities in Scotland and USA and learning about the differences between the education systems in these places compared to England.
  •  Jill Burnett at EAUC-Scotland said that the highlight of the day for her was Dr Mary Robinson session on Gender, Equity & Climate Justice
  • John Wincott, EAUC Trustee, added that a very useful discussion was that on  whether to use divestment or engagement.
Day 5 - Energy
  • Katie Major, Student Commissioner shared that talking about the power of the youth voice in encouraging change with local groups in Glasgow was very inspiring!
  • Jill Burnett at EAUC-Scotland mentioned that the highlight of the day was to be in attendance when UK's Energy Minister Greg Hands talked about decarbonising the grid at the UK Pavilion.
  • Manveer Gill, Student Commissioner said that the Nature+ Zone hosted a really insightful event discussing the significance of forests to climate change, The solutions that are being implemented to address data gaps and improve policy makers understanding of both the value of forests and the local contexts within which they reside.
Day 6 - Youth & Public Empowerment 

EAUC has attended and been involved in a series of key events on Friday including:
- The WWF event on climate education for a showcase of youth voice and action around climate change, and a celebration of the role that schools and youth networks can play in shaping a sustainable future.
- Iain Patton was a keynote speaker for an event with Morocco highlighting the work we have done with universities in Morocco over the past few months. Student Climate Commissioners Manveer and Katie also shared their experiences.
- Fiona Goodwin and Student Climate Commissioners Manveer and Katie joined the Japan Pavilion and talked to students from the University of Tokyo on the plan to reach net-zero and how they can improve student engagement. Great to hear voices from YOUNGO representatives from Ghana and Peru as well!
- Fiona Goodwin, EAUC and Manveer Gill, Student Climate Commissioner attended a Q&A with the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP on the draft Sustainability Strategy for Education
- The Education & Environment Ministers Summit was the highlight of the day for our delegation with conclusions that can be read here. Fiona Goodwin, EAUC, said "it was great to finally see Education Ministers at COP - and ridiculous to think this was for the first time! But the Italian Education Minister, Patrizio Bianchi, to challenge the UK Presidency to ensure Education Ministers and Youth4Climate are to attend at all future COP's. We saw great pledges from a wide variety of countries such as Finland, Greece, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Morocco, Malawi, Colombia, Japan and many more to embed climate throughout their curriculum. The challenge is now for the UK to up their pledge to widen climate education outside of geography and science and with 1/2 of countries not including any climate education we clearly have a long way to go still. As Bianchi said 1 hour of climate teaching is not enough."  

  • Iain Patton, CEO at EAUC outlined the highlight of the day being "Meeting awesome youth led nature focused organisations and Bear Grylls too. Plus the sky sport kick carbon out of sport and lots of inspirational sports people."
  • Katie Major, Student Climate Commissioner, said that the most interesting aspect of the day has been seeing "How incredibly well youth delegates articulated their arguments. I went to a number of sessions on food systems during which individuals representing youth groups directly addressed the environmental issues faced in the food industry and challenged speakers - amazing!"
  • Rebecca Petford, added that "Destination 2030 was a great event, with a couple of panels and a few speakers. Al Gore mentioned that in 2020 90% of new energy capacity around the world was renewable. Youth Activist Clover also reminded us that transformation is what is required: "Nothing that is not transformation is tokenism. And there is no hope in tokenism." Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, closed the event by reminding us that "there are countries in the world where '1.5 to stay alive' means exactly that". The education and climate ministers summit was really disappointing to me (don't quote me on that!), no live engagement between the two ministerial departments of any countries, just pre-set statements and pre-approved questions from young people around the world. However it was a good start to have the need for these ministries to work together highlighted, and it had obviously initiated or supported conversations about how this could happen in countries around the world."
  • Iain Patton, CEO, attended, along with our Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges partner, Second Nature, a Partners to Race to Zero Reception to discuss the future of the Race to Zero campaign

Day 7 - Nature
  • We were privileged to be invited to attend the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP launch of the Department of Education Sustainability Strategy. EAUC will be working closely with the Sustainability Unit in helping them to refine their strategy over the coming months ahead of the strategy being approved in April 2022.
Day 8 - Skills Sunday
  • We also attended the COP26 Universities Network panel session on Green Career Pathways, chaired by Dave Reay, University of Edinburgh and Keynote from The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education with a panel with BEIS, Education Training Foundation, Natwest and ECITB. Colleges and universities are at the heart of delivering skills, education and innovation
  • So you want a Green Job was a great session featuring The Prince’s Trust Group, a global network of charities focused on supporting young people into education, employment and enterprise, and One Young World, the global forum for young leaders - partnering with the Department for Education gave insights needed to pursue a green career.
  • Lucy Patterson said that "In your hands documentary which shared the stories of six young people from every inhabitable continent in the world of how climate change has directly effected their lives."
  • And the Wombles made an appearance in the Green Zone!
Day 9 - Adaptation, Loss & Damage 
  • EAUC and the Glasgow School of Art co-hosted a Networking Dinner at  organised by Prof. John French, EAUC Deputy Chair, with esteemed guests from UNEP, Department of Education, WWF, Ashden, Earthday and many more!
  • Fraser Lovie, EAUC Fellow, said that the Plenary Session on Loss and Damages was the highlight of the day, especially the conversation around time for those with the resources to step up and assist those experiencing the most acute consequences of climate change.
  • John Thorne, EAUC Fellow, added that seeing a bamboo bicycle on the Indonesian stand was the most interesting thing he has seen throughout the day.
  • Lucy Patterson from EAUC-Scotland added that after speaking with a representative from the melting ice stand, was shocked to learn how ocean acidification will take a much longer time to reverse than climate change and further to this how severe the problem worsens from 1.2 through to 4 degrees Celsius of warming. Witnessing the women and gender constituency awards and feeling a sense of pride for the amazing work of women across the globe in meeting the sustainable development goals.
  • Iain Patton, CEO at EAUC, said that meeting and having a productive conversation with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Skills), Alex Burghart MP, gave him hope for the future.
Day 10 - Gender and Science & Innovation
  • Highlights for Lucy Patterson from EAUC-Scotland included being inspired by Malawi’s Minister of Education, Hon. Agnes Nyalonje, who spoke at the British governments Women’s Education event. She spoke about how tacking both the climate and educational crisis in her country and beyond, we must reform the system to suit the most marginalised group- the disabled girl child, which will in turn improve education for every child.
  • Prof. Eunice Simmons, EAUC Trustee added that it was impressive to see postgraduate students talking about real action for climate in the North West Route to Net Zero Event
  • Jamie Pearson, EAUC Trustee said that the most memorable moment of the day was the impassioned speech from Scarlet Westbrook during the UNFCCC Panel on Climate Education.

Day 11 - Transport 
  • Trustee John French said that the debate around journalism run by Earth Journalism was very interesting, especially in terms of political constraints present in some countries. He also added that it was encouraging to hear Matthias Frumerie's (Head of Delegation to UNFCCC)  ideas on how Sweden aims to be the first fossil fuel free country.
  • Lucy Patterson at EAUC-Scotland highlighted that it was interesting to see the diagrams in the Qatar stand of the eight football stadiums being built for the FIFA World Cup 2022. One of which is going to be made of shipping containers, therefore fully deconstructable and the land will be turned into a green zone after the games. 
  • Fellow Fraser Lovie added that the IPCC session on adapting its work to the pandemic was very useful, given they'll aim to work more online or in hybrid mode, to ensure a more inclusive and democratic approach. 
  • EAUC Fellow Jamie Pearson said that the most memorable moment of the day was at the Collaboration between cities and higher education talk with excellent examples from cities throughout the world. 
Day 12 - Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day
  • Jamie Pearson, EAUC Fellow shared that the most memorable event of the day has been the Presidency Event.  Building Back Better: Accelerating deep collaboration for Built Environment Climate Action. He added "Inspirational leaders from a range of governments, government bodies and the private sector provided covered a wide range of built environment facts and examples. For instance, at this point in time, globally, half of all buildings that will exist by 2050 are still to be built. As per all of the COP26 events I’ve attended, there as a repeated message and plea for collaboration and collaborative working. 
  • John French, EAUC Trustee added the the launch of the UKGBC Whole Life Carbon Roadmap has been the highlight of his day.​​​​

The COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow have finished and the gavel has come down on the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed by all 197 countries.
If the 2015 Paris Agreement provided the framework for countries to tackle climate change then Glasgow, six years on, was the first major test of this high-water mark of global diplomacy. EAUC's reflections to follow up.

Watch the conference sessions
All recordings are also available here.  

  • Our CEO, Iain Patton, shared reflections from COP26 here
  • View EAUC's Delegation and our call's to COP26 here
  • On-demand sessions from the two-week event available here
  • Access the COP26 Presidency Programme (Blue Zone) here
  • Look up the Green Zone Programme of Events here
  • Access formal updates from the COP26 Team
  • Access a range of resources shared as part of EAUC's COP26 Campaign
  • Keep up with the EAUC updates on Twitter & LinkedIN
Delivered by EAUC