This is a visual representation of global temperature change from 1850 to 2018 created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK

‘Countdown to COP26 – environmental action powered by data’ – watch the video now

COP26 was billed as the most important global environmental talks since the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) where the ‘Paris Agreement’ was negotiated between 196 parties. This was where the long-term goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees (ideally 1.5) above pre-industrial levels was agreed.

However – we’re still falling short of the action required on this – the week ahead of the conference, the World Meteorological Organisation said that last year saw the record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – despite the pandemic meaning there were fewer flights and lots of people were doing much less than usual. And, relatedly, the UN’s Emissions Gap Report 2021 found that emissions cuts pledged by different countries is falling way short of what is needed to meet the goal agreed in Paris.

Much of this work is based on very sophisticated data modelling and the work of very dedicated scientists. And yet, climate change remains only one of our global environmental challenges – albeit often very tied in with things like deforestation, food production and waste.

So, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, on 28 October we convened a positive conversation with people who are tackling these many, complex issues, from local to global efforts, and using data to support their work.

We heard from:

Professor Simon Caporn, Professor of Ecology and Environment, Department of Natural Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University, on his work with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust collecting data on the carbon balance of Manchester’s peatlands.

Dr Adelina Mensah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, talking about the work she’s done in communities locally to help them capture and share water data, helping them prepare for floods.

George Coombs from Our Streets Chorlton, who’s on the ground in his local Manchester community supporting others to understand how collecting data about where you live can help make the case for change.

Sophie Walker, COO of Dsposal, who’s working to improve data about waste, so we can make better decisions about how we reduce, reuse and recycle.

You can now watch the event back here:

Image credit: Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License).