Greta Thunberg: what has activist said about COP26 Climate Change summit and why won't she attend?

The COP26 - a global summit on tackling climate change - will be held in Glasgow in 2021.

One of the world’s most famous environmentalists, Greta Thunberg, has indicated that she will not attend the climate summit.

The summit was due to take place in November 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic saw dates shifted to November 2021.

What is COP26?

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests with demonstrators during a "Fridays for Future" protest in front of the Swedish Parliament Riksdagen in Stockholm on October 9, 2020.

COP is an acronym for ‘Conference of the Parties”, with the ‘26’ indicating that this will be the 26th COP summit.

The summit will be attended by all the countries who signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed in 1994.

The last conference was held in Madrid in November 2019, at which an agreement was made over cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Each nation in attendance agreed to devise a plan to cut carbon emissions by the time of the next COP summit.

The Paris Agreement has been a primary focus at COP summits for several years.

The agreement is an international pledge to tackle climate change, agreed by leaders at COP in 2015.

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Why won’t Greta Thunberg attend?

Greta Thunberg indicated to BBC news that she won’t attend the COP summit this year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

She indicated that the conference should be postponed until global vaccination rates for coronavirus have risen.

She said: "This needs to happen in the right way. Of course, the best thing to do would be to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible so that everyone could take part on the same terms."

Greta’s non-appearance will be unusual, with the climate activist attending every major climate conference since she began her ‘school strike’ two and a half years ago.

In 2019, Greta delivered a damning speech to world leaders at the COP summit in which she accused them of failing to act on climate change.

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words", she told them.

Who is Greta Thunberg - and how old is she?

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist who is now 18 years old.

She was just 15 years old when she began striking from school over climate change in 2018, sitting outside the Swedish parliament to demand action on global warming.

Her protests sparked a worldwide ‘school strike’ movement in which students demonstrated over climate change during school hours.

Greta’s actions have sparked global environmental movements and made her famous worldwide.

She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome - a form of autism - in 2015 and has spoken openly about the diagnosis, as well as her mental health issues.

What can we expect from COP 26 - and could it be postponed again?

While there have been some rumours that the summit will be postponed once again due to the pandemic, leaders in Downing Street and Holyrood have insisted that there are no current plans to delay the event.

Restrictions may, however, force the event to be conducted virtually rather than in person.

COP26, if it goes ahead, will be the biggest summit ever hosted by the UK, and could be the most significant climate conference to take place since the 2015 Paris Agreement was made.

Leaders from countries around the world will be reporting on their progress since that agreement was made, with further decisions made on cutting emissions.