Call for papers: Climate emergency - the UK presidency of COP26

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Climate change protest

The UK is to preside over COP26 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Glasgow during November 2020 (the presidency is held jointly with Italy that will host a pre-Cop and other events).


This provides a critical opportunity for scholars and practitioners to consider the UK’s role within a wider international and environmental context.

Our Environment Working Group has proposed that a conference be held at Keele University, Staffordshire, with a provisional date of Wednesday 2 September 2020. Details will be confirmed this spring. A keynote lecture will be given by Professor John Vogler, Keele University. 


It is anticipated that this will lead to a journal special issue or edited volume.


Policy or theoretically oriented contributions are sought that might cover the kind of topics indicated in the following illustrative, but not exhaustive, list:

  • The political role and challenges of the COP presidency related to what we know of the operation of the effective French presidency prior to the Paris Agreement of 2015. COP26 is widely regarded as the most significant meeting since Paris because it will be the point at which full implementation of the Agreement will occur;
  • Consideration of how the ‘ratchet’ mechanism of the Agreement will operate in terms of the encouragement of the first new set of NDCs;
  • Adaptation and ‘loss and damage’ issues often poorly represented alongside a developed world fixation on greenhouse gas mitigation;
  • The implications of non-governmental participation and action;
  • Coordination of climate-related activity of international bodies beyond the remit of the UNFCCC;
  • The impact of shifting scientific knowledge and public perceptions on the international politics of climate change with reference to the preceding IPCC reports and political phenomena such as the Extinction Rebellion movement;
  • The implications of structural and regime change in the wider international political system within which the COP is embedded.


There are also important, specifically British issues arising from the intention of the UK Government to use this opportunity to emphasise the independent role of the UK as a ‘global player’ in the aftermath of Brexit:

  • The organisation and deployment of UK diplomatic resources in support of the COP Presidency;
  • The problems of independence after so many years of operating within the extensive climate policy competences of the European Union;
  • The demonstrative use of UK commitments under the Climate Change Act of 2008 and its net zero by 2050 pledge;
  • The evident refusal of the US government to countenance any discussion of climate issues in the negotiation of future trade agreements and the dilemmas arising from navigating between EU and US positions;
  • The role of the devolved administration in Scotland, which will naturally be involved with supporting such a very large international gathering in Glasgow.


The deadline for abstracts is Monday 2 March 2020. Please send your abstracts to


Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash