Climate scientists to Glasgow summit

1 november 2021

Lots of flags from all over the world

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, is taking place from 1 to 12 November 2021 and will gather leaders from some 200 countries.

Uppsala University is represented among the delegates to the global get-together. At the UN’s summit on climate issues in Glasgow from 31 October, the University’s researchers in climate change leadership will hold seminars, engage in discussions with decision makers and other stakeholders on site and report regularly from the summit.

Mikael Karlsson
Mikael Karlsson, Associate Professor of Environ-
mental Science. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

“Attending COP26 feels essential,” says Mikael Karlsson, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, who leads research on climate change leadership at the Department of Earth Sciences.

“The world needs to make a swift transition to reduced emissions if climate targets are to be met, and the work must be done on a scientific basis. So it’s good for us to get the message out on what the research says about both obstacles and opportunities. This has been appreciated at previous meetings.”

The Glasgow summit will address a range of climate issues. One key issue concerns the extent of the countries’ commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today, these undertakings are nowhere near sufficient to achieve the climate goals, but there is an expectation of rising ambitions.

Funding climate change management

One closely related question is how climate action is to be financed. The objective is for $100 billion to be set aside, globally, every year. But on this point, too, past promises remain unfulfilled and the question is whether new funding will be added at COP26. Besides these main points, there are several detailed questions to be addressed on, for example, how the 2015 Paris Agreement is be implemented in practice.

“The issues are many and challenging, but I’m hopeful so far,” Karlsson says.

“It’s clear that individual meetings won’t solve the climate problems, and I’d be pleasantly surprised if it were possible to solve all the knotty problems we face. But even if that doesn’t happen, the summit can give climate change management a new lease of life. We’d benefit from that in the EU and Sweden as well. In any case, in Glasgow we’ll be holding seminars and reporting on trends by, for example, describing in-depth analyses, and implementing some studies.”

Reporting on the spot

The University’s delegation includes another three people, who will report daily from Glasgow through Twitter and a blog:

  • Daniel Lindvall, researcher in climate change leadership, who has a PhD in sociology and served as principal secretary for the Swedish Government’s committee of inquiry on democratic participation and influence, set up in 2014.
  • Jens Ergon, PhD student at the Department of Earth Sciences, a science journalist and filmmaker with experience from, for example, Vetenskapsradion (“Science Radio”), and as a former editor at Forskning & Framsteg (“Research and Progress”) magazine.
  • Isabel Baudish, coordinator at Uppsala’s Climate Change Leadership hub, who is in charge of arranging its seminar and activities. 


This year’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, is taking place in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November 2021 and will bring together leaders from some 200 countries. COP stands for “Conference of Parties”, the countries that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP26 is the 26th meeting that has convened these countries, and the summit is expected to gather around 30,000 participants – politicians, organisations, scientists and more.

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