Why is COP 26 a critical moment for the climate and publishing?

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It seems that with each passing day there is yet another climate change crisis dominating our news headlines.  The world’s scientists have declared that we are fast approaching global tipping points where we can still try and minimize the devastating effects of climate change. Yet, time is running out. With a shrinking window of opportunity left to take action, each meeting where world leaders convene is a moment where we can increase our climate commitments and actions.  

The 26th Conferences of the Parties, better known as COP 26, will be held in November this year. It is the annual summit hosted by the climate body of the United Nations. It will be this event where around 200 of the world’s leaders will gather to discuss how we must dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, adopt policies to help vulnerable communities and agree on how to pay for all this. Hosted in Glasgow, The UK will be assuming the COP 26 Presidency, in partnership with Italy with the world’s eyes firmly focused on the outcomes.

Why is COP 26 important?

The timing of COP is very important. Originally planned for 2020, it was delayed due to the pandemic and between 2020 and 2021, there have been major developments in climate commitments. The European Union for example increased their goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. China declared they will be net zero by 2050 and the US rejoined the Paris Agreement committing to reducing greenhouse gases by 50-52% by 2030. Additionally, as host nation, the United Kingdom have set a radical climate target to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

All of these targets require radical change across all sectors of society. It requires a global energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the need to protect and increase habitats that absorb carbon and adjust our food systems to support a more sustainable planet. This level and scale of change requires everyone from individual consumers, to businesses and whole sectors to work together in order to make sustainability a default option.

What role can Publishing Play?  

Firstly, research has shown that reading has the power to deepen our understanding of key issues, become more aware of our surroundings and foster empathy. By doing what we do best – publishing – we have the power to influence the very society that will shape a sustainable future.

This is one of the reasons I am so excited to share the news that the International Publishers Association supports the COP26 Virtual Showcase of over 35 book publishers hosted and organized by Exact Editions.

The showcase will be free and open-access throughout both the Milan Pre-COP Meeting (30 September - 3 October) and the Glasgow COP26 Meeting (1 -12 November), running alongside other key events and resources. Each participating publisher, the likes of whom include Bloomsbury, Elsevier and the Natural History Museum, has its own shelf of four titles, which range widely between fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. There will be separate collections to highlight all the German-language books and all the children’s books in the showcase.

Find out more about the COP26 Showcase here on the Exact Editions blog: https://exacted.me/BlogVirtualBookShowcaseForClimateChange

Secondly, publishers as businesses can ensure they too are making their own climate commitments and taking action to reduce their environmental footprints. However, like COP 26, there are some key challenges that collectively we need to try and solve. Many of us will have complicated supply chains, issues around carbon reporting, and confusion over pledges and goals. It is one of the reasons why we have established a sustainability committee as part of the Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee. We are now exploring how we can bring together the industry and start the conversation on how we all can take an agreed international approach towards addressing climate. We will keep you posted on the developments.

 

If you or your members have key projects or activities around COP 26, we would love to hear from you – please drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

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