The Landscape Institute at COP26

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021.

Additionally, from 11 to 15 October 2021, Kunming, China will host COP15: the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Biodiversity and habitat loss are crises which, like climate change, are directly linked to human activity; which require a concentrated global effort to tackle; and which landscape practice can benefit enormously.

Why is COP26 significant?

Climate change is a clear and present danger to all people and our planet. COP26 is the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted, and the most significant climate event since COP21, the 2015 United Nations climate conference that resulted in the Paris Agreement.

The 2015 Paris Agreement provided a landmark global framework for limiting global warming rise to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels. But globally, we are not on track to meet these goals.

Watershed moments in human history, COP26 and COP15 will determine the scale of ambition and action to limit global warming and environment loss in the next decade.

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What does the LI want from the UK at COP26?

Climate change is happening now. To avoid its more damaging effects, we must cut carbon emissions from all sectors – including the built environment – by between 50 and 65% by 2030.

This will necessitate transformative change within energy, land, industrial, urban and infrastructure systems. The LI’s 2020 Greener Recovery report addresses how the landscape sector can deliver a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. An unintended yet welcome outcome of the pandemic lockdowns was an improvement in local and global environmental conditions. The LI calls for the UK Government to maintain these significant gains by:

  • taking a natural capital approach to new infrastructure and housing investment
  • investing in maintenance and renewal of existing places
  • setting fairer standards for green space
  • investing in natural solutions to climate change
  • investing in green skills, digital and data

How can landscape professionals contribute?

Landscape professionals design, plan, and manage resilient spaces. Spanning the built and natural environment sectors, they can bring a unique, integrated response to the complex and interconnected issues of climate change and biodiversity loss.

The LI’s 2021 Landscape for 2030 report further demonstrates how landscape professionals can respond to the climate and biodiversity crises. It showcases examples of best practice, where landscape professionals provide an integrated, holistic approach to climate action, incorporating both mitigation and adaptation measures. Some examples include:

  • reducing embodied carbon of outdoor spaces
  • implementing energy-saving measures, such as living roofs and tree planting, and reducing food miles by integrating and maximising local food production in the landscape
  • enabling non-vehicular transport by designing for low-carbon travel routes
  • using sustainable urban drainage systems to adapt to increasing flooding and coastal erosion
  • increasing urban heat resilience by installing green infrastructure, improving the thermal performance of buildings and reducing the ‘urban heat island’ effect

See our COP26 resources section to find out more.

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Resources

Landscape for 2030

LI Climate and Biodiversity Action Plan

Aiming for net-zero carbon

How landscape practice can respond to the climate crisis. 11 case studies that demonstrate the measures needed to create climate resilient, low-carbon places at all scales, and show the central role that landscape has to play in the delivery of climate change policy.

How we as an organisation will respond to the biodiversity and climate change emergencies: equip the profession to provide solutions; regulate and monitor the sector to encourage greater sustainability; advocate for measures to address the crises; and lead through sustainable business operations.

The journal of the Landscape Institute, autumn 2019 – the climate emergency edition. A special edition of the Landscape journal focusing on the climate and biodiversity emergencies, following the LI’s climate and biodiversity emergency declaration in early 2019.

IFLA climate action commitment

CIC climate action plan

#BuiltEnvironmentDeclares

Over 70,000 landscape architects around the world are taking action as global citizens to limit planetary warming to 1.5° C. IFLA’s Climate Action Commitment outline six key areas for the profession to take climate action.

The LI is a signatory to this action plan from the Construction Industry Council (CIC), which will coordinate efforts within the built and natural environment professions in meeting the UK Government’s 2050 net zero emissions targets.

#BuiltEnvironmentDeclares Climate and Biodiversity Emergency: A global petition uniting all strands of construction and the built environment; both a public declaration of the environmental crises, and a commitment to take positive action.

Urban landscapes and climate change

The contribution of Landscape Architects to improve the quality of life. This report from the 11th Council of Europe conference on the European Landscape Convention highlights opportunities, problems and challenges in establishing a European viewpoint on the role that landscape and landscape architects can play in tackling the climate crisis.

COP26 blog

A green co-delivery

That urban greening is imperative to the health and wellbeing of our communities and planet is not in question; what is in question is how it’s delivered, writes Meaghan Kombol. In this blog, Meaghan discusses Dublin City Council's work on Greening Stoneybatter, and how this approach to co-design can empower a new model of urban greening.

Making COP26 Count: Landscape Institute to join Glasgow climate summit in November

LI President Jane Findlay and Chief Executive Sue Morgan will be among the delegates at the crucial UN conference in November, where the LI will be championing the central role of landscape and green infrastructure in the global journey to net zero.

Interested in contributing to our COP26 blog? Download the LI COP26 blogging guidelines.

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