Stephanie Henson (NOC) at COP26

COMFORT scientist and WP2 co-leader, Stephanie Henson (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) attended COP26 in Glasgow during the 1st week of the climate action negotiations. Here she tells us about her experience there:

Steph Henson (NOC) at COP26

“It was all quite overwhelming, with almost 20,000 attendees.  It was strange to be back in such a big crowd after the isolation of Covid!  The COP was centred around several areas: pavilions, the Hub and the negotiating rooms.  The pavilions were set up in trade show style, each representing a country or theme, with a variety of talks or other activities.  I spent a lot of time at the Science Pavilion (no surprise!) which presented the science of climate change in different formats.  I also enjoyed visiting pavilions on the themes of resilience, the UN Ocean Decade and biodiversity – but the best coffee was in the Australia pavilion!  The Hub was where most of the media action happened, and also live streamed talks from the main negotiating rooms (which ‘Observers’, like myself, could only attend if there was space for us).  Overall, it felt a bit like a chaotic circus with a million things happening at once, but I had some fruitful conversations with scientists from other fields, negotiators and business leaders.  My abiding memory though will probably be the long (long) queues to access the site every day, the huge climate protests engulfing Glasgow, and wearing a face mask for 14 hours a day!  But hopefully, policy makers are now truly hearing the message on climate change and are ready to take the difficult decisions necessary to ensure the goals of the Paris agreement are met.”