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News Lesson on COP26

November 9, 2021

News Lesson on COP26

Ask Students: If the science is so compelling for climate change, why do you think it’s difficult for countries to come to a consensus?


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COP26 Summary

The climate crisis takes center stage as the world’s leaders convene for the 26th Conference of Parties, but not everyone shares the same sense of urgency as others. More than 30,000 people from across the international community, including politicians, activists, celebrities and more are convening at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

After the Paris Agreement, world leaders are now checking in to evaluate global goals to cut emissions and hoping current partners will recommit and others will take an even more aggressive stance in mitigating the effects of climate change. Without extreme action, scientists are warning that we will be reaching a point of no return and experience unprecedented disasters. Watch the video below and listen to this brief podcast, then guide your learning with discussion questions and an extension activities on student activism, the impact of climate change on coastal communities, and international reactions to President Biden's speech.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is COP26 and why is it important in the fight against climate change?

  2. In 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted by world leaders, what was its goal? Why are leaders meeting again?

  3. Do you have an institution like the Glasgow Science Center near your home? Why do you think science centers like this are important?

  4. If the science is so compelling for climate change, why do you think it’s difficult for countries to come to a consensus?

  5. Although the U.S. signed the Paris Agreement, Donald Trump backed out of the agreement and now President Biden has apologized. Do you think the world can take the United States seriously if we keep reneging on our promises?

Gen Z Voices: Student Activism and Frustrations at COP26

Many young climate activists have taken to the streets in Glasgow to vent their frustrations about inaction on climate change from global leaders. With rollling demonstrations aimed at raising awareness about the impact of climate change around the world, some activists have gained more attention than others with their critiques of world leaders. "Youth have brought critical urgency to the talks," Greenpeace said in an interview with NPR. Notably, Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate took aim at Presidents Biden and Obama for "breaking their promises" on climate change. 

How can students and young people constructively engage with world leaders and organizations to take climate change seriously?

Extension Activity: Climate Change at Home

Watch the Global Oneness Project short video A Vanishing Island, and facilitate a discussion around the effects of hurricanes, including the advantages and disadvantages of living near the coast. Students will participate in classroom discussions and explore the themes of cultural displacement and the effects of environmental change.

Extension Activity: International Perspectives

Some climate activists are saying that the United States and other global leaders are bringing nothing new to the table and continues to make empty promises.

Watch a brief video in a tweet from the French television show Quotidien. Translated, the tweet reads, "Joe Biden's speech at COP26, is there a sense of déjà vu here?" What do you think atfer watching the comparison? How can global leaders make more meaningful promises?

Additional Resources

Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, video games, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from Americ


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