Climate Conferences on the Agenda

COP26 hasn’t been the only conference to address the climate crisis. A number of other significant events have recently taken place with the environment, sustainability and climate change at the center of their missions.

Author: Convene Editors       

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, a clean air advocate in London, speaks as part of TED’s The Countdown Summit. Her daughter, Ella Roberta, died in 2013 at nine years of age after a severe asthma attack. A 2020 inquest concluded that pollution from the South Circular Road in London was a contributing factor to the child’s death.

Editor’s note: Renowned anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall has said of the climate crisis, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” With that in mind, we are dedicating the November/December edition of Convene fully — our first single-topic issue — to the climate crisis, and what the business events industry is doing to address this global challenge. Find stories from the Climate Issue here, and read our cover story, “A ‘Watershed Moment’ for Events — and the World.”

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hasn’t been the only conference to address the climate crisis. A number of other significant events have recently taken place with the environment, sustainability and climate change at the center of their missions.

In addition to COP26, which took place Oct. 31–Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, a number of other significant conferences have recently taken place, addressing the climate crisis. Some were specifically created to be held around COP26, and others have made sustainability and climate change central to their mission. Here is a sampling.

IUCN World Conservation Congress

  • Location Marseille, France and online
  • Date Sept. 3–11
  • Attendees 6,000 in-person and 3,500 online participants
  • Sessions International Union for the Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The congress highlighted dual existential crises for the planet: climate change and biodiversity collapse. Outcomes of the congress: The Marseille Manifesto, which highlights that humanity has reached a tipping point in the window of opportunity to respond, and the adoption of 28 resolutions on conservation and sustainable development issues, including a Climate Change Commission.

8th Annual Net Zero Conference

  • Location Los Angeles and online
  • Date Sept. 13–16
  • Attendees 1,030 individuals, primarily working in roles such as architecture, consulting, contracting, engineering, and technology within the sustainability industry; 22 percent of attendees have been in the industry 5-10 years, while 15 percent of attendees were brand-new to the industry
  • Sessions NZ21 featured a mix of panels, mini sessions that were 30 minutes or less, and keynote speakers ranging from Jedidiah Jenkins, New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur to Kimberley R. Miner, climate scientist. Speakers were selected via a committee comprising leaders from across the sustainability field.

The Economist Sustainability Week: Countdown to COP26

  • Location Virtual only
  • Date Oct. 4–7
  • Attendees 8,729 during the week
  • Speakers 150+
  • Sessions 65, including: DevelopingTech for Change, Cleaning Up Heavy Industry, Prioritizing the Environment at a Government Level, How Climate Change is Changing the Face of Food, The Art of Sustainable Investment. For the opening keynote interview, The Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes spoke with Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Read more about Gates’s thoughts on climate change.

TED’s The Countdown Summit

  • Location Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Date Oct. 12–15
  • Attendees 1,000 politicians, business leaders, policy makers, scientists, Indigenous leaders, artists, philanthropists, youth activists, and others focused on making a net-zero future a reality.
  • Sessions 6 sessions of TED talks, 6 sessions of deep-dive breakouts, group dinners
  • Watch a replay of TED’s Countdown Summit livestream replay.

Verge: The Climate Tech Event

  • Location Virtual Only
  • Date Oct. 25–28
  • Attendees 5,000 leaders in private and public sectors, utilities, solution providers, investors, and startups that are advancing systemic solutions to address the climate crisis through clean energy, sustainable mobility, carbon removal, regenerative food systems, and resilient infrastructure.
  • Speaker Highlight Pete Buttigieg, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation