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, Electricity Journal, Volume 34, October 2021
Transitioning the energy sector to zero or net-zero emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) and substantially reducing other pollutants is a massive, costly, and long-term effort. The typical starting point and centerpiece of energy decarbonization is the electric power sector. The sector is a large direct GHG emitter. It already has many technological, non-carbon emitting alternatives that are rapidly declining in capital and operating costs and improving in performance, making electricity the least expensive and accessible energy carrier to decarbonize.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 31, October 2021
Enabling a circular economy for plastics in Europe and beyond is an ambitious goal. To reach a fully closed loop, numerous challenges and knowledge gaps need to be overcome. This review provides a list of more than 6000 chemicals reported to be found in plastics and an overview of the challenges and gaps in assessing their impacts on the environment and human health along the life cycle of plastic products. We further identified 1518 plastic-related chemicals of concern, which should be prioritized for substitution by safer alternatives.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 31, October 2021
Hydrogen as a clean, reliable and potentially sustainable energy vector has attracted growing interest for promoting the sustainable development of both industry and society worldwide. Hydrogen is a rising enabler for a multisectorial transition toward a low-carbon economy based on renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, there is a lack of literature scientifically scrutinizing the relationships between a hydrogen economy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Elsevier, Global Environmental Change, Volume 70, September 2021
The purpose of the present paper is to disentangle the mechanisms that connect climate change-induced disasters, inequality and vulnerability by accounting for both directions of causality. We do so by means of a simultaneous equations approach on a panel of 149 countries from 1992 to 2018. The empirical analysis reveals that countries with higher levels of income inequality suffer greater damages when hit by a natural disaster. At the same time, inequality is found to increase the number of people affected by disasters.
Elsevier, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 72, September 2021
Urban areas are critical in accomplishing the clean energy transition and meeting the climate goals in the Paris Agreement. The first part of this paper presents a systematic review of scientific publications on zero emission neighbourhoods, positive energy districts and similar concepts of climate friendly neighbourhoods (CFN). The second lists a selection of CFN definitions of public initiatives and research projects. The aim is to identify focus areas, research gaps and future research possibilities.
Elsevier, Energy Policy, Volume 154, July 2021
Local authorities in the United Kingdom are recognised by central government as key agents to achieving the national net zero target aimed at stabilising global temperatures at or below 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Since 2018, over 75% of local authorities have declared climate emergencies committing to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents the findings of a review of official public records published by 308 local authorities, City Regions and Combined Authorities declaring climate emergencies.
Elsevier, Geography and Sustainability, Volume 2, June 2021
Water is the fundamental natural resource that supports life, ecosystems and human society. Thus studying the water cycle is important for sustainable development. In the context of global climate change, a better understanding of the water cycle is needed. This study summarises current research and highlights future directions of water science from four perspectives: (i) the water cycle; (ii) hydrologic processes; (iii) coupled natural-social water systems; and (iv) integrated watershed management.
Elsevier, World Patent Information, Volume 64, March 2021
Greenhouse gas emissions are directly associated with climate change issues. Part of the emissions originates from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil used as an energy source for the performance of agricultural machinery's internal combustion engines. However, discussions relevant to the topic are under development in Brazil, and there is a lack of research in the academic field on the intellectual property of agricultural technologies.
Elsevier, Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Volume , 2021
Climate change is the most critical public health crisis of the 21st century. Physical and medical sequelae of climate and weather-related events are well documented and may be addressed in clinical practice. Mental health impacts of climate change are increasingly addressed in the literature but remain underrecognized by clinicians. This report focuses on mental health impacts of climate change through the theoretical framework of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
Elsevier, Materials Today Sustainability, Volume 10, December 2020
Herein, we present a multigram scale-up route for the preparation of novel polymer composite nanoparticles as potential multifunctional rechargeable material for future, sustainable batteries. The nanoparticles (20 nm) comprise three innocuous yet functional interpenetrated macromolecular networks: polypyrrole, methylcellulose, and lignin. They are uniquely assembled in strands or chains (~200 nm) such as necklace beads and show long-term stability as water dispersion.