Why November’s UN Climate Summit matters – and what you can do

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 | News and analysis
COP26 coalition (day of action)
This November, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for two weeks of global climate talks, at the 2021 UN Climate Summit (COP26). The climate crisis is the most pressing ethical and political issue of our lifetime, and experts are calling the Climate Summit one of the last opportunities for world leaders to meaningfully commit to tackling the climate crisis, by making plans to transform our societies and economies. The decisions made will shape how governments across the world respond to the climate crisis and decide the fate of billions: who is to be sacrificed, who will escape, and who will make a profit.

We have ten years left to keep global heating to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid catastrophic runaway climate violence. So far, governments have done too little too late, colluding with polluting industries and profit-driven corporations, hiding behind green-washed ‘solutions’ that don’t address the scale of the problem, and in many cases rely on further exploitation of people and the planet’s resources. 

But across the world, a wave of resistance is forming, one of global solidarity and grassroots organising.

As the UK hosts world leaders in Glasgow, we know that moving the dial from climate inaction towards climate justice will only be possible through our collective action. The time is now to come together to lay the foundations for a just world, where people and the planet come first.

It is in this aim that War on Want jointly founded the COP26 Coalition, bringing together the labour movement, youth groups, anti-racist, migrant justice and grassroots campaigners, faith groups and charities – as well as many others – to mobilise for climate justice during the UN Climate Summit.  

Under the call for more radical action rooted in equality and justice, this unprecedented group is working to ensure that the voices and demands of communities and movements facing the brunt of the climate crisis are heard by world leaders.

Over the last 18 months, War on Want has helped to secure essential funding to get the Coalition up and running. We have worked to centre social movements and our partners in the Global South within the Coalition’s climate organising, and we’ve supported on strategy, policy and campaigning. We host part of the Coalition team within War on Want, and our Executive Director, Asad Rehman, is a leading spokesperson.

We know that record levels of greenhouse gases are already leading to killer floods, droughts and famines that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest and most marginalised people – those least responsible for climate breakdown are already paying its heaviest price. Whilst rich countries, including the UK, are failing to do their fair share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or address the inequalities that make communities vulnerable to climate breakdown.

That is why we must demand climate justice through full-scale systems change: the climate crisis has resulted from our broken, unequal societies and economies.

This means a wide-scale transformation of the way we live is the only answer. We must transform our global economy into one of care and repair, uproot the systems of exploitation and oppression which keep the poorest in poverty while lining the pockets of corporates and rich shareholders; and ensure a just transition for all – a transition that protects both workers and the environment.

The meeting of world leaders at the UN Climate Summit in November must deliver climate justice and a Global Green New Deal for people and planet. It needs all of us to bring our voices, our activism, and our solidarity to hold governments to account and press on them the world we want to see.

The COP26 Coalition is the place to go to channel your energy and join with a broad network of people all mobilising to speak their truth to governments around the UN Climate Summit:

Global day for climate justice poster

Join the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. 6 November

Mass demonstrations will take place in both Glasgow and London, with other mobilisations planned across the world.

Join us
COP26 Coalition banner

Attend the People’s Summit for Climate Justice. 7 - 10 November

Join online from anywhere in the world, or in-person in Glasgow, to discuss, learn and strategise with other activists, academics and global allies.

Take part
Assemble and organise with COP26 coalition

Get involved with the COP26 Coalition.

Get active and organise with others at regional and local level.

Find out more