COP26 – the UN Climate Change Conference

COP26 will take place from 1 to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Find out what it's for, what will happen and how young people are getting involved.


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding.


Climate change is causing problems all over the world. Compared with 40 years ago, we have almost five times more floods, droughts, heatwaves and other natural disasters today. And some of the poorest people in the world are the ones most in danger from climate change. That's why the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently said, '2021 is a make or break year to confront the global climate emergency.' Action needs to be taken now to reduce climate change – before it is too late.

What is COP26?

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. These events are also known as 'COPs', which stands for 'Conference of the Parties'. At COP26, world leaders, scientists and environmental campaigners will work together and plan action against climate change to protect people and the planet.

COP26 will be held from 1 to 12 November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. It should have taken place in 2020, but it was postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What does COP26 hope to achieve?

The event has four goals.

  1. To get countries to set higher targets for reducing emissions. Countries will need to reduce the use of fossil fuels, protect trees and forests, use more electric vehicles and invest in clean energy.
  2. To help countries to adapt to the changing climate. Countries will need to protect their natural environment and find ways to protect people from climate problems, such as by building defences against natural disasters.
  3. To raise funds. Countries will need money to achieve goals 1 and 2.
  4. To work together. The climate emergency can only be solved if countries work together. Countries will need to agree how to do this and then take action quickly.

The 2015 Paris Agreement

Six years ago, at COP21, the Paris Agreement was signed. The goal is to keep global warming below 2ºC, ideally 1.5ºC. The Paris Agreement was important because it was the first ever legal agreement bringing countries together to act. Since then, 190 countries have joined the Paris Agreement. However, time is running out. Not enough has been done, and COP26 is seen as a last opportunity to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. COP26 will try to get climate action on track.

How are young people getting involved?

Young people are at the front of the movement for climate action. School students around the world went on strike in 2019 to call for more urgent action, and Greta Thunberg has spoken to world leaders about it.

Before COP26 in Glasgow, there will be a COP26 Youth Summit from 28 to 30 September in Milan, Italy. About 400 young people from 197 countries will attend. Some will travel to Milan, and others will attend online. The young people will work together in groups to develop proposals for climate action.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the British Council's Climate Connection site:


What do you think is the most important action that needs to be taken to confront the climate emergency?

Personal online tutoring
EnglishScore Tutors is the British Council’s one-to-one tutoring platform for 13- to 17-year-olds.


Submitted by Dmitry on Sat, 03/26/2022 - 19:16

Eat a variety... Don't throw away food... Use less water... Keep our soils and water clean
Profile picture for user Andrii

Submitted by Andrii on Fri, 10/29/2021 - 19:59

I think we should change nuclear power plants, which make a huge amount of wastes, to those that use natural resources, such as hydropower plants, wind power plants and solar power plants.
English courses near you