Reflections from COP26

In November 2021, UNSW Sydney PhD Student Jack Lodge attended COP26 in Glasgow on behalf of the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA).  

Jack arrived at COP26 in the second week, when many of the world leaders had departed. Prior to his arrival he knew that there had been some pledges to net-zero and some progress by some of the biggest global players—but also that there was a lack of presence by some key countries. 

While at the event, Jack had the opportunity to speak with delegates and observers. After spending some time chatting with other attendees and completing some interviews, Jack said that he noticed more pessimism than optimism in general.  

“Some people I interviewed thought that COP was a good opportunity to have discussions with other like-minded people, where some progress was being made,” said Jack. 

 “But on the other side, there was a general consensus that a great deal more still needed to happen.”  

 In terms of progress, Jack said he heard a lot of conversation about more integrated thinking.  

 “I think most agreed there was a disconnect between all the things happening internationally, “says Jack. 

 “SDGs and biodiversity weren't being discussed widely, for example, and siloed thinking still seemed to prevail”. 

 Jack said that as well as meeting some inspiring people, a highlight was seeing the innovation on show by many stallholders in the ‘green zone’ – which was open to all attendees. 

 “The green zone was much more accessible than the blue zone – where world leaders were speaking and negotiations taking place. There were stalls from various companies showing some really exciting cutting-edge technology being developed to assist in combatting climate change," said Jack. 

 “I really enjoyed the time at COP26 and found it to be an insightful experience for me.” 

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