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Event: Holyrood's COP26 Fringe Festival

Event: Holyrood's COP26 Fringe Festival

Four days of events bringing together figures from business, science and technology on how to tackle climate change

The COP26 summit has been called the world’s “last best chance” to avert catastrophic warming, but where are the ideas and thinkers needed to save our planet?
Holyrood has brought together a panel of great minds – experts from business, science and technology – as part of a series of fringe events which will run alongside the summit itself. 
Over the course of four days, they’ll explore what’s being done in Scotland and internationally to meet the greatest challenge any of us have ever faced. 

What is COP?
Arranged by the United Nations, governments have met annually since 1995 to discuss climate change and climate action. At COP21 in Paris, a historic and legally binding agreement was reached. Named the Paris Agreement, those who signed up committed to holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5C.

This is a complex subject. No one government or nation alone can avert the climate crisis. International collaboration between nation-states is crucial, and cities, regions, business and civic society will all have a role to play too.

What are the UK and Scottish Governments doing to reduce greenhouse gas emission?
The UK Government has ambitious decarbonisation targets, with a legal commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Scotland’s target is even more ambitious, with a legal commitment to be at net-zero by 2045.

The December 2020 update to the Scottish Government’s climate change plan also set out over 100 new policies and proposals to support Scotland’s green recovery and help deliver a just transition to net-zero.

What will happen at COP26?

Between 1 – 12 November, heads of state, climate experts and negotiators from across the globe will meet in the official blue and green zones, with the aim of accelerating action that was committed to in the Paris Agreement. 

Alok Sharma MP and the UK Government hold the presidency of the conference, and five key themes will be used to focus events alongside the official negotiations: adaptation and resilience; nature; energy transitions; clean transport and finance. 

Glasgow will see an influx of people representing businesses, advocacy groups, civic society, and young people, all keen to be part of discussions on climate change and the action needed to secure the future of our planet.

What is Holyrood planning? 

As Scotland’s leading public policy and political communications brand, Holyrood has been at the forefront of climate change discussion in Scotland in the run-up to COP26. Holyrood’s Climate Emergency Series has spanned magazine supplements, podcasts, online content and events. 

To complement the presidency themes, Holyrood has curated an ambitious four-day fringe festival. Taking place in the heart of Glasgow city centre, at a venue under Central Station, between 3 – 6 November, each day of the festival will focus on a different theme.

There will be several open, inclusive and collaborative discussions each day on topics related to the overarching theme. Some of these session will also be available online as part of a hybrid live stream. 

The sessions will be a mixture of big-picture thinking; championing the industry-leading work being done in Scotland; looking at international best-practice; and discussing solutions to any implementation gaps to ensure that Scotland and the UK’s ambitious targets can be met.

We are expecting to attract attendance from the Scottish and UK governments as well as civil servants, local government officials, elected members in Holyrood and Westminster, and COP26 delegates from Europe and the rest of the world.

The festival is open to everyone interested in learning and discussing about the climate emergency and the climate action needed. 

After COP26?

Holyrood’s focus on this topic doesn’t end after everyone leaves Glasgow. Our Just Transition conference is planned for December 2021, and we have more editorial and events planned for 2022 to discuss how a just transition to a net-zero future can be achieved in Scotland through a more inclusive and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.


For more information, and to book your free place click here

(l-r Chris Stark, Rose Mwebaza, Ingvild Solvang and Cornell Hanxomphou)

Wednesday 3 November
Diversity & Inclusion in Climate Change: Discussions and Decisions
Promoting Women’s Leaders in the Fight Against Climate Change
Raising the Voices of Youth to Participate
BAME Voices and the Climate Crisis
Confirmed Speakers
Lolita Jackson, Executive Director - Sustainable Cities - SDCL
Cornell Hanxomphou, Climate Change & Environmental Officer, CEMVO Scotland
Dr Emma Woodham, Climate Change Programme Manager, Glasgow Science Centre
Ingvild Solvang, Head of Climate Action and Inclusive Development, Investments and Policy Solutions Division (IPSD) Global Green Growth Institute
Representative from the 2050 Climate Group 

Thursday 4 November
Climate Change, Innovation and Technology Sessions
Growing Scotland’s Climate Tech Sector
How can 5G help tackle the Climate Emergency?
How can AI Help Tackle the Climate Emergency?
Confirmed Speakers
Rose Mwebaza, Director, UN Climate Technology Network
Marc Strathie, Head of Research & Policy, ScotlandIS

Friday 5 November
Nature, Biodiversity and Public Health
The Nature Emergency: The Forgotten Crisis
Land Reform and Democratising Nature
Creating Sustainable, Resilient Cities
Confirmed Speakers
Hamish Trench, Chief Executive, Scottish Land Commission
Professor Deborah Roberts, Deputy Chief Executive, James Hutton Institute
Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer & Assistant Director, City of Pittsburgh
Oliver Greenfield, Convenor, Green Economy Coalition
Alisa Raeburn, Chair, Community Land Scotland
Professor James Curran MBE, Fellow, Scottish Environment LINK
Representative from Glasgow City Council

Saturday 6 November
Scotland’s Role in Delivering a Net-Zero World
Mobilising Global State and Regional Leadership on Net Zero Ambition
Scotland: Net-Zero Global Leader?
Scotland’s Food & Drink Sector: Tackling the Climate Emergency
Confirmed Speakers
Chris Stark, Chief Executive, UK Climate Change Committee
Joe Franses, Vice President - Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners
Frances Guy, Chief Executive, Scotland’s International Development Alliance
Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute


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