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What in the world is COP26?


If you haven’t heard the term, or seen it in the press already, then it’s highly likely you’ll hear the phase ‘COP26’ more and more throughout October 2021.

So, what is COP and why is this one number 26?

COP is the United Nations annual climate conference. COP stands for ‘Conference of Parties’ and is where hundreds of world leaders meet to negotiate and agree plans for tackling climate change.

They’re held in different cities every year, and this year COP will be held in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November.

It’s referred to as COP26 because it’s the 26th annual conference. It would have been held in November 2020 but was postponed by one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

COP26 is set to be the biggest international conference the UK has ever hosted, with over 30,000 delegates expected to attend including world leaders, heads of state, scientists, and campaigners.

Why is COP26 so important?

COP26 is the most important COP since COP21 in 2015 where nearly 200 world leaders signed the Paris climate agreement. This committed countries to stop climate change and deal with its causes and effects. In Paris, nations promised to develop plans to cut their carbon emissions and present these plans five years later, in time for the COP26.

COP26 is the deadline for countries to present their plans to cut emissions.

COP26 matters because this decade the world really needs to make meaningful progress in reducing carbon emissions to have any chance of avoiding the worst impacts of global warming: unimaginable natural disasters, sea level rise, and mass extinction of wildlife.

Together, these plans need to set the world on track to stop global temperatures rising more than 1.5ºC by the end of the century. It’s also a unique opportunity to build a stronger and fairer global economy.

What are world leaders looking to achieve at the COP26 this year?

For COP26 to be a real success, world leaders need to go beyond the commitments they’ve already made, and back up their promises with concrete national plans, policies and investments.

For example, to keep temperatures below that 1.5ºC limit, every country needs to stop all new fossil fuel projects immediately, and commit to a date by which it will stop burning coal altogether. Rich nations need to give extra financial support to poorer countries to do the same, and to help deal with the existing impacts of climate change.

What is net zero?

Net zero means finding a balance between the planet-warming greenhouse gases that an individual or organisation puts into the atmosphere, and those that are ‘taken out’.

In other words, it’s making sure that for all the gases emitted, you are removing the same amount from the atmosphere, making yourself ‘carbon neutral’.

Achieving net zero is necessary if we are to tackle climate change and protect people, the planet and our natural world.

The UK has set a target of being net zero by 2050.

How can I get involved?

Everyday people are going about their lives in quietly revolutionary ways – helping cut carbon emissions and making the UK and the wider world a greener place.

Whether it’s by recycling, composting, walking to school, using a re-usable water bottle or turning the lights off when leaving a room, you too can play your part and join the tribe of the UK’s unexpected climate leaders.

Climate leaders instinctively see the wider benefits of doing these things – that a greener way of life means a healthier population, more jobs and a sustainable future for us all.

#TogetherForOurPlanet is the official # for COP26.

Why not see how you can get involved? together-for-our-planet

What's this got to do with my pension?

When you put money into your retirement savings, here at Legal & General we invest it in company shares with the aim of helping your savings grow.
As well as caring about your financial future we believe that we have a responsibility to consider the impact that these companies have on the world around us.

Our Climate Impact Pledge underpins the way we invest. We score the companies that we invest in on your behalf so we can track which are actively committed to working towards reducing carbon emissions. We then allocate more money to companies who score well and less to companies who score badly. Importantly we remain invested in some companies who currently have a high carbon footprint, if we are comfortable they are making sufficient efforts to reduce carbon emissions, as by using our influence as shareholders, with active engagement with their Board, we can make more impact in the sectors of the economy where the need for change is greatest.

We also consider social and governance factors in our investment decisions. We believe that companies that are managed well, tackle the impact they have on the climate and look after their employees are more sustainable in the long term.

We’re working with the companies in which we invest on your behalf, to reduce emissions with the aim of making your retirement savings invested by Legal & General net zero by 2050.

This means a more positive impact on your money.

You can read more about the action Legal & General is taking on the things you care about on our ESG hub

How do I find out where I'm invested?

To see which fund you are invested in, or if you’d like to review all of the funds available to you or to change the funds you invest in, please log in to your secure online account.

It’s easy to register if you haven’t already done so. All you’ll need is your customer reference number from your welcome letter or member certificate.

Alternatively, you can view your online account using the Coll8 mobile app via your smart phone.