UCC delegate set to represent Irish students at COP26 Summit

Alex Cunningham

University College Cork have assembled a delegate of eight members, including students and climate professors, to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow which kicked off on Sunday.

COP26 will run from October 31st to November 12th, and will offer world leaders a crucial chance to set tangible goals and commitments to tackle climate change.

Representatives of the world’s major powers will attempt to find ways to stay on track on the agreements made in the 2015 Paris Agreement, such as keeping the earths temperature 1.5℃ inside of pre-industrial temperatures and drastically cutting down on carbon emissions.

UCC is the only college in Ireland granted with observer status. The delegation made its way over to Glasgow in a carbon friendly way, via boat and train.

The delegate is led by Brian Ó Gallochóir, Professor of Energy Engineering at UCC and Director of MaREI – the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at UCC.

“This is a critical time for global climate politics. The ambition to stay within 1.5 degrees global warming was agreed in Paris in 2015. Unfortunately, however, we are seeing greenhouse gas emissions growing again after a temporary pause for COVID-19,” he said.

“In UCC, we are doing research on the required solutions to deliver on this political ambition. As individual countries bring increased ambitions to COP26, I’m hoping to see stronger commitments to action from Governments to match their ambitions and to deliver the necessary solutions, including from Ireland.”

A mock COP26 was held in UCC on October 26th which saw students represent different nations to get a grasp on how difficult and chaotic the negotiations can be.

Students at UCC and across Ireland are rallying for change as COP26 continues, with protests set to take place on November 6th across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Belfast.

DCU is ranked 15th globally on the UI Green Metric across all colleges. In 2019, DCU’s emissions totalled out at t52,632 CO2e, a 21% drop in total emissions compared to the previous years t66,302 CO2e.

DCU’s Climate Action Plan (2019-2022) promises to “place sustainability at the core of the University.”

DCU plan to launch their Climate & Society research centre on Friday, November 26th and will be unveiled by President, Michael D Higgins.

The opening of the facility will offer an opportunity for the president and others to openly reflect on the outcome of COP26.

Head of DCU’s Green Committee Samantha Fahy has high hopes for the centre and believes that the centre will bridge the gap between Universities and Society when it comes to spreading the message of climate change.

“What I see as a huge role for higher education institutions including us as a university is to engage with society,” she said. “What I feel as that if we as HEIs do not get out and educate the people on why these changes are coming we could end up with societal breakdown.

“If we end up with a societal breakdown or the societal backlash against new regulations and legislation coming in it’s going to become a very difficult world to live in.”


Alex Cunningham

Image Credit: Pixabay