COP26 Special Issue: UN Climate Change Conference 2021

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations annual climate change conference. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU). The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, together with our partners Italy, in Glasgow, will be the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it's called COP26.

United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world. The negotiations between governments are complex and involve officials from every country in the world as well as representatives from civil society and the global news media.

To build momentum for this pivotal event, we're sharing a curated list of impactful book chapters and journal articles that will drive research and deliver meaningful ways to take positive environmental action.

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage has identified increasing temperatures as a key slow onset event. However, it is the resulting increases in short-term heat events — heatwaves — that have so far been the primary focus of risk assessment and policy, while gradual and sustained increases in temperature have received less attention. This is a global issue but particularly important in tropical and subtropical regions already chronically exposed to extreme heat.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Droughts are significant drivers of land degradation, which in turn has adverse effects on resource-dependent rural populations and can potentially lead to livelihood losses and subsequent migration out of affected areas. Linkages between land degradation and migration are complex and not particularly well documented, as they occur within a larger context of multi-scale interactions of socio-economic, political, demographic, and environmental processes. Given these uncertainties, further research in this field is needed.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Loss and Damage studies have tended to focus on rapid-onset events with lesser attention to slow-onset events such as drought. Even when discussed, narratives around droughts emphasize implications on rural populations and there remain empirical and conceptual gaps on drought impacts in urban areas. We focus on losses and damages associated with urban drought and water insecurity through a review of interventions and policies in seven Asian countries. We find evidence of urban droughts leading to tangible losses (e.g. groundwater over-extraction, economic impacts) and intangible losses (e.g.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate suggests sea level rise may be best understood as a slow onset disaster for Pacific Island countries and, in particular, low lying atoll nations. Sea-level rise, coastal flooding and surge inundation is an increasingly pressing problem across the urban Pacific.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Droughts are extreme events that have major impacts on communities, ecosystems and economies due to slow onset and complex processes. Land and ecosystem degradation increase the risks of loss and damage during droughts, whereas well-adapted practices and policies can enable society to (re)build resilience. This review highlights actions needed to connect and fill gaps in the present systems for ecological and hydrological monitoring, governance, and alignment of economic incentives at regional, national and local scales.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Responding to climate change requires radical transformations in social, political, economic and social-ecological systems. Recent research has argued that individuals can drive transformations at scale through changes in beliefs and values that affect political activity. We draw from sociological and psychological perspectives on mental health outcomes among survivors of violence and abuse, taking a gendered approach, to show how potential for individual transformation is differentially constructed through personal life trajectories and intersectional social relations.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Climate change has affected diverse spheres and its impact is being witnessed worldwide. Soil, the basis of human sustenance, is both directly and indirectly affected by climate change. Soil erosion, vegetation degradation and soil salinisation are becoming prevalent, causing a threat to future food security. Saline soils are found mainly in North and Central Asia, Africa and South America. Various factors such as excess irrigation and poor drainage, groundwater salinity, sea level rise and intrusion, irregular rainfall contribute to the process of soil salinisation.

Pages