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Reflecting on COP26 and the role of academia in developing climate policy

The special edition podcast series on COP26 concludes by hearing from the experts that attended the global climate change summit and their thoughts on climate action moving forward, including the role of academia in engaging with policymakers.

COP26: we got this podcast graphics

Ahead of COP26, hopes were high that the world could come together to tackle global warming. The final episode of the ‘COP26: we got this’ podcast takes a look at what the summit actually achieved, the role of academia in developing policy and the need for more diverse voices.

Co-host, Dr Will Grant (Australian National University) suggests the research space has the capacity to strengthen its communication of the science.

“It’s a really important thing for us in the research space, from whatever discipline, to think about how we can make sure the work we do goes out and connects with the people that we need to connect with.”

Dr Helen Adams (King’s College London), who attended the summit in an official capacity as Head of Science Engagement for the UK COP Presidency, talks about how she has been working these past two years to encourage research-informed policy, including the challenge of motivating academics to work with governments.

“How you get a broad diversity of academics engaging constructively with governments, who are thirsty for knowledge and thirsty for action, is a question that I think has broader implications – towards funding, motivation within academia – all those things we know encourage academics to engage with policy.”

She also reflects on the need for diversity in finding climate solutions.

Unless we have a vision of the future that includes multiple perspectives and acknowledges that certain people aren’t doing well in the current present, we’re not going to get effective solutions for the future.– Dr Helen Adams, Head of Science Engagement for the UK COP Presidency

Dr Virginia Marshall (Australian National University) agrees on the importance of including more diverse voices, particularly those of indigenous peoples and scholars.

“Solving these issues is not going to happen without everyone being engaged. […] For the survival of the human race, we need to stop politicising climate change and understand that the evidence also includes indigenous science – that’s critical.”

The episode also hears from Dr Stephen Minas (King’s College London) and Dr Christian Downie (Australian National University) on climate finance, phasing out fossil fuels and what they think will happen now that the summit is over.

The COP26: we got this podcast is a five-part series developed around the global summit, exploring complex issues such as climate diplomacy, finance and adaptation. It is hosted by Dr Megan Bowman, Director of the Climate Law and Governance Centre at King’s College London, and Dr Will Grant, Senior Lecturer at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University (ANU).

To find out more, listen and subscribe

Find the full episode on Acast or through your preferred podcast provider by searching for "COP26: we got this".

The COP26: we got this podcast is produced by King’s College London and The Australian National University Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions.

It was produced as part of the King's COP26 Engagement Fund; which comprises of the King's Australia Partnership Seed Fund and the Menzies Australia Institute.