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Countdown to COP26


You’ve heard of Greta Thunberg.  You’ve heard of the Paris Agreement and perhaps even the Kyoto Agreement, but have you heard of #COP26? 

COP26 is the most significant gathering of world leaders on the subject of climate change since France’s COP21 when the historic Paris Agreement was signed by 186 countries.  And COP26 will take place in Glasgow between the 9th – 19th November 2020.  

It will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, seeing 30,000 delegates from over 200 countries attend the 26th annual meeting of the UN’s Conference of Parties.  

Over the final weekend, up to 200 of the world’s most powerful leaders will be in our city to attend closing sessions.  

These sessions represent 2 of the most critical days for our global climate future as member governments are called to renew and declare their revised national carbon emissions targets and commitments.

We’ll be posting a fair bit about COP26 over the coming months as our great city and nation prepares to host this momentous and historic event.  

Today however we start by looking at the global opportunity we have at our fingertips as hosts of COP26 in November 2020 and what share of voice we may expect to gain within the overall global climate conversation next year….

Last month saw Madrid host COP25…

…But it wasn’t meant to be held in Spain

From Brazil

Originally, COP25 was supposed to be hosted in Brazil, but the country pulled out just over a year ago on 28thNovember 2018 two months after agreeing to host COP25 and just 4 weeks after Bolsonaro’s far-right presidency win.

Citing the transitioning of governments and budget restrictions to the UN, a global media were not fooled, using words such as reneging, abdicating and abandoning to describe the actions of Bolsonaro – a close supporter of Trump and a rigid climate-denier who is very vocal about his desire to expand mining, dam building and farming in the Amazon.

Via Santiago

Then, some 7 months later on 25th June 2019, Chile’s Environment Minister Caroline Schmidt co-signed the agreement which forms the legal basis for hosting and organising COP25 in Santiago from the 2nd to 13th December 2019.

However, 4 months after this on 30th October 2019, the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced that his country was cancelling as host amid mass anti-government protest and social unrest resulting from privatizations, the increased cost of living and social inequality.

From a far-right, ex-military, Trump-sympathizing, climate-denying president in Brazil to an environmentally progressive but deeply unequal economy and society in Chile

To Madrid

On the 4th November 2019 the 3rd and final host of Madrid, Spain was controversially announced as the final host with less than one month to until the event start date.  

COP25’s 3rd and final host stepped in a fortnight after a burst of violent clashes between pro-independence protestors and riot police following Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez’s jailing of 12 Catalan leaders for their role in the 2017 independence referendum.

What may previously have gone under the radar around previous COP’s became mainstream news in 2019 due to Greta’s global #FridaysForFuture #ClimateEmergency protests….

Spain’s last-minute hosting of COP25 was not a popular move

“Why not another country in south america????”

“U assume all participants fly to Madrid.  This is glaring contradiction + u don’t make any allowance for #slowtravel #sustainable participants. Too little time to arrange trip to Madrid now.  Picking another South American location made much more sense.@sailtothecop @flyingless

“I am interested to know the level of ecological responsibility/action of all participants to these mega meetings. Travelling, hotels, communications and materials. #lessisbetter

“Will Greta Thunberg make it across the Atlantic in time….”

Global perceptions of Spain’s government and democratic integrity are at an all-time low.

Spain doing its best to polish its image while its cops smash heads in Barcelona

Great, from a country that exploded b/c of inequality, to the country that represent the biggest European lie about democracy and freedom, the world capital of fascism. Well done Europe, well done.

It’s great that COP25 will happen, but the civil society in the Latin America was mobilized to be present in Chile. The change to another continent makes it impossible for the people to participate.

Spain?? The country which had to cancel a football match (FC Barcelona – R. Madrid) last month because they cannot guarantee the security during the event, is now chosen to celebrate a world conference… Waiting for a new international Spanish fail.

Controversial or not, what share of voice has Spain gained in global #COP25 conversation?

We know that COP26 is going to be the most important climate conference since 2015 and we know that it’s going to be the biggest conference ever to have been staged on UK soil.

But are we able to gauge the opportunity that lies ahead for Scotland – as a small nation – to be positioned front and centre in the overall global conversation around COP26?  And what might we learn from other hosts about making the most of this incredible opportunity?

Using Brandwatch we’ve had a bash.  The chart below shows the share of voice that each country generated as a volume and % of the overall COP25 social conversational volume (of 119,000 mentions) in the two months of 1 Nov – 2 Dec 2019 when the event opened.

Assuming that Glasgow’s status as host remains, then in the months from now until November 2020  our small nation could expect to grow its share of voice in the global climate conversation to grow from the present 2% to around 40%.

Source: Material, Sustainable Material Insight Team, powered by Brandwatch

Scotland’s voice is set to play positively on a world stage

Looking at overall conversational sentiment, emotional analysis and sentiment by topics (all pictured below) we see that the host nation of Spain was dominating both negative and positive conversation around COP25.  

Therefore, given the (relative) stability of Scotland’s political status compared to Spain’s recent unrest, we can also assume that Scotland’s voice will play much more positively on the world stage next year than Spain’s has this year.

COP25 Overall Conversational Sentiment from 1 Nov – 2 Dec ‘19

(where negative sentiment peaked in early Nov around Spain’s announcement as the new host)

COP25 Overall Emotional Analysis from 1 Nov – 2 Dec 19

(where anger peaked in early Nov with Spain’s announcement as the new host)

COP25 Topical Sentiment Analysis from 1 Nov – 2 Dec 19

(where words such as “decision” and “host” in the negative spectrum relate to Spain) 

An Unparalleled & Unprecedented Opportunity for Scotland

As top line as this has to be due to the format here, it’s plain to see the scale of opportunity ahead for Scotland, Glasgow and Scots, not only when COP26 opens in Nov 2020 but also via the global momentum and build up towards this historically significant event.

Leading up to, and over the 2 weeks of COP26, Glasgow will host over 200 individual events, 200 world leaders, 30,000 delegates and of course – Greta.  Beyond the opportunities for us a host nation and national-brand, there are exceptional opportunities for Scottish industries, charities, businesses, brands, students and innovators to get involved in the conversation and have their voice heard.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN opened COP25 on Monday (2nd Dec) by stating:

“We have to choose between the path of surrender – letting the climate emergency jeopardize everyone on this planet – or the path of hope, sustainable solutions and successful #ClimateAction”

The potential for Scotland to showcase the hope and success of our government, of our democracy and of our progress towards the targets set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – both at a macro-national level and a micro-enterprise / business level – is huge and arguably beyond compare with any global stage we have known before.

We’ll be looking at some of these angles over the coming months (powered of course by data from the wonderful Brandwatch).  From the content of climate deniers (!) to Scottish and UK consumer perspectives on #ClimateAction, the climate emergency and who we really believe to be responsible for achieving the sustainability commitments of our country…

In the meantime, if you share our opinions and interest in this then give us a shout for a chat via This is our time Scotland! 

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