Greta Thunberg surrounded by climate change activists at London protest

What is COP26 and what are its aims? ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith explains


Greta Thunberg was surrounded by climate change activists as she joined a protest in London ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow on Sunday.

The teenage activist met campaigners outside the Standard Chartered headquarters as they lobbied against the global financial system supporting the use of fossil fuels.

Ms Thunberg led the protest with chants of “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” and “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now”.

She then left the area, while activists continued the campaign.

In a statement on its website Standard Chartered said it had "ambitious new targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions from its financed activity by 2050".


The teenage climate crisis activist proved popular with crowds at the protest


Ms Thunberg is expected to attend the COP26 summit taking place in Glasgow from Monday, although says she has not officially been invited.

World leaders will arrive in Scotland to discuss climate change and how to combat it.

Andrew Marr, in a preview for his BBC One show on Sunday, asked her if she had been invited, and she responded: “I don’t know. It’s very unclear. Not officially.

“I think that many people might be scared that if they invite too many radical young people, then that might make them look bad.”

She added that more countries affected by climate change should be at the conference.

Ms Thunberg said: “We need more representation from the so-called global south, from the most affected people and areas.

“It’s not fair when, for example, one country send lots and lots of delegates, and then another country is very under-represented. That already creates an imbalance, and climate justice is at the very heart of this crisis.

“As long as we keep ignoring the historical responsibility of the countries of the global north and as long as we continue to ignore it, the negotiations will not have a successful outcome.”

Greta is one of thousands of activists attending protests across 26 countries.


ITV News London reporter Ria Chatterjee was with environmentalists who were determined to make their voices heard 


As campaigners walked through the streets of London, they were joined by a band playing Power To The People and five women dressed as banshees affected by pollution.

Others included Greenwich teacher Kevin Wright, who spoke about London's Silvertown Tunnel, saying: “We cannot afford it environmentally or financially. There are no grounds that makes it good.

“It will draw large traffic into the most densely populated parts of the UK.

“All I see I self-interest in this tunnel, all I see is harm, but to some it’s big money and to (London mayor Sadiq) Khan it probably is his pension.”

The COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

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The protests come days before world leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 summit, where they will discuss how to tackle climate change.

In 2015, countries signed the Paris agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The International Energy Agency says there can be no further exploration of oil and gas after this year.