Preparing for COP26: Useful Resources

Found out all you need to know about the importance of COP26 by reading our Key Notes on COP26 here.
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Welcome Session 28.06.21

In this session we introduced what the Preparing for COP26 summer school will look like, running through the programme, introduced the website, and ran through how to use the different functions of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This was followed by our very special keynote speaker, renowned academic, and head of the University of Leeds School of Politics and International Studies, Dr. Richard Beardsworth. Dr. Beardsworth's particular interests are in how the world responds to global challenges like sustainability and climate change.

Sociology & Social Policy Session 29.06.21

In this session, Professor Sarah Irwin and Dr. Katy Wright led a workshop focused on public attitudes, views, and actions related to climate change. We considered diverse explanations of why people say they are very concerned and yet carry on their lives 'as normal'. This is sometimes seen as a puzzle by researchers. Their explanations tend to focus more on psychology and less on the contexts in which people live their lives. In Sarah and Katy's research, they are looking at public perceptions and using different methods to get people talking about what matters to them and how context influences what they do. Summer school delegates took part in a couple of exercises to think about what matters to people and how this lines up, or not, with carbon reduction goals. We also explored possibilities for drawing out general principles and asked if such principles could guide more ambitious policies for reducing emissions in the UK.

Law 29.06.21

This session was led by postgraduate student Kerry, who focused on Land Laws and Climate Change. It looked at the implications of imposing land laws on different cultures, and understanding the relationship between indigenous communities and COP26.

Education 30.06.21

This session was led by Dr. Ian Shaw, who is interested in how we can build new urban commons and systems to challenge the social and economic costs of climate breakdown. This session focused on some of Ian's work with an interdisciplinary team called the International Green Academy whose mission is to partner universities, schools, and community to build gardens that empower young people.

Politics 30.06.21

In this session we explored the promises and pitfalls of the new worldwide fad for governments and companies to set themselves 'net zero' climate targets. The UK became the first major economy to set itself a 'net-zero' emissions target for 2050. Today, with the US, China and the EU following setting similar targets, most of the world economy is subject to a 'net zero' target, to be reached by mid-century. This is in some ways a triumph. Yet it opens up a whole new can of worms as the 'net' simply means that continued emissions may be offset by equivalent amounts of 'negative emissions' or 'carbon dioxide removal' - emissions in reverse, e.g., by planting masses of trees to bind carbon or burning biofuels and capturing CO2 in the smokestacks and storing it ('CCS'). Is it realistic (or desirable) that billions of tons of greenhouse gases, once emitted, have to be removed from the atmosphere? Some say 'net-zero' is in effect a giant loophole allowing governments and corporations to carry on emitting carbon today by promising 'removals' years down the line. So, what can be done to close the 'net zero' loophole?

Geography 01.07.21

Anne Sietsma led this session. Climate change is often presented as a future problem, but in many places of the world its impacts are already being felt right now. With even more severe changes on the horizon, it is clear that stopping emissions alone is not enough: we will need to adapt to a new climate. In this session, we took a look at what this “adaptation” means in practice. Using case studies, we investigated how some of the environmental impacts caused by climate change lead to social and cultural impacts, and finally to potential solutions. By focussing especially on the most vulnerable people in the world, we also gained a better understanding of the power dynamics involved in adaptation solutions.

Business 01.07.21

This session was led by Professor Vera Trappmann and Dr. Jo Cutter. Business and organisations are trying to reduce their carbon emissions. This is a top priority posed by governments for business but also answering to the pressure of environmental groups and more lately to the Youth movement FridayforFutures to tackle climate change. What type of knowledge do companies need to reduce their carbon footprint? How will an economy look like that is more environmentally friendly? Can we still buy as much stuff as we do now? In this workshop we considered some of these questions, and did interactive training of Carbon Literacy. We also learnt about what you learn in a Business School that is relevant to respond to climate crisis. And finally, we looked at a case study and discuss how a business like Starbucks could become more sustainable.

01.07.21 Student Ambassador Q&A

In this session our Leeds Loves Social Sciences Ambassadors answered your questions and discussed everything there is about being a student at University of Leeds, covering topics as diverse as student finance, nightlife, transition from school or college to university, and everything in between!