What is COP and why should I get involved?

COP is an abbreviation of ‘Conference of the Parties’ to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) –  also known as the UN climate conference, climate talks, climate summit or climate negotiations!  The 2021 Glasgow summit will be the 26th meeting, so it is known as COP26.

The annual climate conference is the main forum for countries to come together to negotiate on global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. It is also an opportunity for people to influence the negotiations and use the summit to build momentum around climate action in Scotland.

The COP provides a hugely important opportunity to grow our movement in Scotland, and make demands for bold local and national action while the spotlight is on our climate efforts. The fight for climate justice won’t end when COP26 leaves town!

In previous years, thousands of climate justice activists and international organisations travel to COPs to participate both on the ‘inside’ of the official UN summit and on the ‘outside’. There are usually a whole host of civil society organised activities and events, giving us an incredible opportunity to connect and learn from each other.

Protests accompanying Bonn COP in 2017

How can I have most impact at COP26? 

Although most people in Scotland won’t be allowed inside the summit, there will be loads of things happening in and around Glasgow that you can get involved in!

The biggest impact we can have on the negotiations and on national and local government is by organising together ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the talks to show how strong and diverse the climate justice movement is, calling out greenwash and articulating our collective demands for real climate action.

We have been working within the COP26 Coalition – an umbrella coalition made up of environmental and climate organisations, trade unions, racial and migrant justice networks, faith and youth groups – and with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland to help build momentum around COP26 and grow the climate justice movement.

Two days of action for climate justice will take place during the middle weekend of the summit with protests in Glasgow, across the UK and around the world, followed by a Peoples’ Summit with events and workshops organised by civil society groups from all over the world. Across both weeks of the summit, in and around Glasgow, there will be a huge diversity of events and activities taking place, with civil society Hubs organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland for activists to gather, connect, learn and organise.

We are doing our best to develop Covid-19 resilient plans to ensure we can adapt to the emerging public health situation. This means planning for decentralised and hybrid online and in person activities.

Global Day of Action for Climate justice: Saturday 6 November

Friday 5 & Saturday 6 November: a global call to action for climate justice with a major mobilisation in Glasgow, decentralised mobilisations across the UK and in cities around the world.

Take part either by coming to Glasgow for the march or joining a local mobilisation in your area to show the strength of the climate justice movement.

People’s Summit: Sunday 7th – Wednesday 10th November

This is a hybrid in-person and virtual Peoples’ Summit with events and workshops organised by local, national and global civil society.

Most people won’t be able to get into the conference itself – this will be a place to learn more about climate justice, the issues at the heart of the negotiations, and real solutions to the climate emergency. View the People’s Summit Programme

How can I get involved now?

Join a local hub

Want to get involved with organising actions, mobilisations and assemblies in your area? Join a COP26 Coalition local organising hub now.

Connect with one of the 18 hubs already established across the UK, or set up a new one in your area here.

Be a volunteer

The COP26 Coalition and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are looking for volunteers to help organise the Peoples’ Summit, the Civil Society Hubs and the Mobilisations. Roles include:

  • Build and break
  • Welcome volunteer
  • March steward
  • Tech support
  • Welfare
  • Virtual People’s Summit Support

Find out more and sign up to volunteer here.

Host an activist during COP26

The COP26 Homestay Network is an environmentally-friendly and affordable accommodation project for the UN Climate Conference in November 2021. It matches hosts across the central belt of Scotland with guests coming to COP26 from all over the world.

Those in and around Glasgow can list their sofa or spare room, and then be matched with a guest who needs a place to stay in November.

We’re asking people across the central belt of Scotland to sign up as hosts on the Homestay Network. To become a host, visit climate.humanhotel.org to sign up and list your space.

More information – including sign up instructions – can be found here.

Because our platform has just launched, we’re also collecting feedback on how to make it even better. If you’d like to give us your feedback while signing up to host, please fill out this survey. Thanks!

The COP26 Homestay Network has been developed in partnership by the COP26 Coalition, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, and Human Hotel.

Join a Working Group in the COP26 Coalition

The COP26 Coalition is always looking for enthusiastic people and organisations to help us in our work. We have different working groups that focus on different aspects – for example, the Logistics Working Group looks at things like sourcing venues and accommodation, and the Mobilisations Working Group is organising the November mobilisations across the UK. A full list of working groups can be found on our about page.

To join a Working Group, contact us here about how you’d like to get involved and what you’d like to work on.

Attend an Event

Our friends at Climate Fringe have a website detailing lots of events on COP26 and climate issues. It aims to join together all the activities that are happening in the run-up to, and during COP. Find out what events are coming up here

Global Day of Action for Climate justice: Saturday 6 November

As world leaders meet in Glasgow for the UN climate talks COP26, towns and cities across the world will take to the streets demanding global climate justice.

A major march will take place in Glasgow followed by a Rally at Glasgow Green. It will meet at Kelvingrove Park at 11.30am. More details

If you can’t make it to Glasgow, join one of the local actions or organise your own. More info

People’s Summit: Sunday 7 – Wednesday 10 November

Hybrid in-person and virtual Peoples’ Summit with events and workshops organised by local, national and global civil society. View the People’s Summit Programme

Stay in touch

Join our email list to  keep updated with our plans for Glasgow Climate Summit COP26.

You can also follow COP26 Coalition on facebook, twitter and instagram; and SCCS’s Climate Fringe platform on the same – facebook, twitter and instagram.


Learn more about the UN climate talks, key issues that will be discussed and how to get involved at our COP26 information homepage