Highland Council prepares for COP26

Following hot on the heels of last week’s two-day Climate Change Conference, The Highland Council’s focus is now shifting to participation in the upcoming COP26 event in Glasgow.

Chair of the Council’s Climate Change Working Group and the Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson will be attending events during the summit. Her first event will be to attend the official presentation of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration on Saturday November 6, of which the Council is a signatory, during Nature Day at COP26.

With food systems currently accounting for 1/3 of total GHG emissions and nature high on the agenda, the conference presents an important opportunity to bring food systems reform to the forefront of the climate debate.

Another event Cllr Robertson will be attending will be hosted by SSE and will showcase and explore the key projects unlocking the UK’s net zero future, centred around three key themes: Communities, Cars and Flexibility. The event will highlight the need for the net zero transition to be fair and inclusive for all with the Centre for Sustainable Energy exploring social justice in the future energy system.

Topics covered will include

  • How communities can co-ordinate and collaborate to play a more active role in the future energy system;
  • Delivering infrastructure to support the decarbonisation of cars in a cost-effective and fair manner; and
  • How flexibility in the energy system will improve efficiency and lower costs for consumers

Joining Councillor Robertson at COP26 to represent The Highland Council will be several members of staff from the Climate Change team with the purpose of networking and attending events in the Green Zone.

The Green Zone is where the public, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, youth groups, charities, academics, artists and businesses can have their voices heard at Cop26, through an extensive programme of events, workshops, talks and exhibitions that promote dialogue, awareness, education and commitments.

Emma Whitham, the project lead for Highland Adapts has the very privileged opportunity to present on Highland Adapts at the COP26 Resilience Hub in the Blue Zone, the UN-managed space which hosts the negotiations.   She has also been invited to speak at the ‘Leading For Climate Resilience’ event at the Glasgow City Chamber.   Both these events are a wonderful opportunity to showcase Highland Adapts as one of the most exciting and inspirational climate action initiatives taking place right now, anywhere in Scotland.  Highland Adapts embraces the fact that community needs to be at the heart of our response to the climate emergency and is committed to delivering transformational change for the Highland region.

The Council’s Climate Change Co-ordinator Joe Perry will be attending a National Trust event for sharing best practice between peatland projects worldwide and will be participating on a series of Scottish Government Events involving presentations and workshops.

For the whole period of COP26, The Flow Country will have presentation space on the virtual peatland pavilion and will hold an in-person blue zone event on Saturday 6 November. This event will feature a series of talks, a short documentary and a Q&A session. Topics include reaching net zero for Scotland and how technology can help us reach net zero. Joe will also be attending a series of events organised by NUS and Students Organising for Sustainability, one of which relates to investing more sustainably, as well as number of Green Zone events.

A video produced by the Council will be shown to passive audiences many times throughout the second week in the Blue Zone.

Looking forward to being part of COP26 Councillor Trish Robertson said: “This is going to be the most significant climate change conference to date, during which leaders from across the world will meet to agree collective action to combat the impacts of climate change.

It will bring together leaders in the innovation field to exhibit and discuss opportunities and challenges. The fact that staff from our Climate Change Team have been invited to present at key events taking place during the summit reflects the reputation we have for taking a leading role when it comes to looking to the future and addressing the challenges. It is going to be a great experience for anyone taking part and I, and our team of staff, are looking forward to flying the flag for all the work Highland Council is doing as well as networking so we can learn more about what we are not doing and how we can take further action.”


26 Oct 2021