Reflections on COP26

1. Introduction

These reflections follow my attendance at COP26, and are written to provide ideas for Parties, Non-State Actors, and others who were at COP26. I am a professor and author instructing in the area of climate change education. My book, Creating a Masterpiece: The Arts and Climate Change Conflict, uses the lens of the creative arts to bring awareness and outline ways to advance the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Paris Agreement and international environmental law objectives. I was fortunate to be invited, by the UNFCCC Secretariat’s Resource Mobilization and Partnerships, to present my book to COP26 participants.

2. The Presentation

My presentation, at the UNFCCC Pavilion, provides examples of how the creative arts can be used to raise awareness of climate change. I indicated how, by engaging in multidisciplinary art-based activities, conflicts related to climate change, can be transformed to achieve equitable and sustainable results.

2.1 The Eiffel Tower Icons

I presented icons of the Eiffel Tower, one to show the strength of the Paris Agreement, and one to show its vulnerability. The later was prepared for an article I had written when the United States left the Paris Agreement. This “Melting Eiffel Tower” shows the vulnerability of the Paris Agreement when Parties do not follow their commitments. Fortunately, by the time of COP26, the United States had re-entered the Agreement with plans to strengthen its commitment.

2.2 Engaging the Participants

Participants were asked to envisage and discuss their visions for COP26. This resulted in images of how, in addition to the Party delegates, groups such as youth, indigenous people, cities, conflict service providers, and others, combine to create a colorful, and powerful artwork of people brought together and committed to the topic of climate change. As the Party negotiations were yet to be finalized, there were no forecasts made by participants who took part in the session. With these positive images, we awaited the outcome of COP26.

3. The Glasgow Pact

3.1 COP 26 Results

It was only after COP26 was completed that the work done and commitments made for climate action were divulged. The result was, in addition to Party and Non-State Actor agreements and proposals, a consensus of the Parties at COP26 called the Glasgow Pact. The Pact provides hope for the future but demands more be done and concrete steps be taken to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Pact expresses utmost concern and urgency that steps be taken to enhance climate ambition and action.

3.2 The Parties

Party negotiations, from COP 26 and from previous COP meetings, illustrate the path taken by Parties is to honor the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It is recognized this path is complex. Knowing the importance to the planet, and people around the world, the Parties at COP26 were able to reach consensus on the terms set out in the Glasgow Pact. The Pact illustrates a commitment to work to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, to keep greenhouse gas emissions below 2 ℃ above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 ℃. The Glasgow Pact has kept the 1.5 goal alive. This result supports the final image of my presentation, a “Happy Planet Earth.”

Image Credit

Image is by Marta Arbab, 2021. From Life on Planet Earth: My Story. – Charalee Graydon


Guest Author Bio
Charalee Graydon


Charalee Graydon was born in Alberta, Canada. She is a writer, journalist, academic and past lawyer. She works in the areas mediation and collaboration and is currently a faculty member at EUCLID University.

Charalee holds degrees in Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science, and a Juris Doctorate in Law. Following receipt of a Rhodes scholarship in 1982, she pursued legal studies in Oxford, England where she obtained a B.C. L degree. She held academic positions in England, New Zealand, and Canada and is presently a faculty member at Euclid University. She completed her Ph.D. in Mediation and Conflict Resolution in June 2020. She has also practiced law in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

She has published three books of literary fiction  and one of which has been translated and published in Spanish.

She developed programs for students, judges, and the corporations on legal issues and published academic works in environmental law, sentencing and commercial law.

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