The COP26: Coming Together for Climate
World leaders are wrapping up their weeks in Glasgow, Scotland, as the United Nations Climate Change Conference—or COP26—comes to an end. Did they accomplish anything?
As with any gathering of this size, with this level of power, lots of speeches and promises were made. World leaders promised to rein in carbon dioxide emissions, send money to developing countries where the effects of climate change are becoming more evident much faster than in richer nations, and end deforestation, among other measures necessary to keep the planet habitable.
As we move beyond the headlines, up-to-date social media reports, and broadcast images of climate protestors, it will be up to the public to demand that these promises are kept. Scientists have predicted that if the globe warms beyond 1.5 degrees, the effects will be catastrophic. If we have any chance of avoiding that scenario, all nations must work together to drastically cut the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and to diminish the amount of carbon dioxide already in the air.
It can be easy to feel hopeless when thinking about climate change. News reports about melting glaciers and pictures of wildfires sweeping through habitats and neighborhoods are difficult to hear and see. But, as COP26 has shown us, there are people working very hard on these problems, both the scientific aspect of the issue and the political-social issues. This problem is only going to be solved through people and nations of the world coming together.
And through education. The climate crisis is going to last long after the adults meeting in Glasgow are gone and it’s going to be up to the following generations to continue the work. That’s why we include discussions of climate change in just about every science book we publish, embedded in a discussion infused with hope and a sense of agency. While we do need governments and corporations to step up, we also need to do what we can to make our own lives a part of the solution.
Photo Credit: Dean Calma / IAEA
Read the introduction to Weather and Climate for ages 12-15! Includes several hands-on activities.